Germany: Violence in Berlin schools soars higher in 2023, 5 police interventions every single day

A Muslim student was suspended for assaulting a teacher who objected to another Arab student provocatively waving a Palestinian flag in the Berlin schoolyard. It was just one case of recorded violence against teaching staff in Berlin in 2023.
By Dénes Albert
4 Min Read

Every school day last year, the Berlin police had to intervene an average of at least five times on the playground, in a classroom or on the grounds of primary and secondary schools.

Crimes are soaring in Berlin’s school system after a temporary lull during the coronavirus period. The numbers went from 3,796 in 2021 to 6,113 in 2023 in terms of overall crimes. Regarding violent crimes such as assault, robbery, and dangerous threats, this number jumped from 1,133 in 2021 to 2,344 in 2022, showing that these incidents have more than doubled in just one year.

Even though some of the crime data for 2023 has not yet been released, the Berlin police have already announced that there is a significant jump that will be reported, according to BZ newspaper.

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“For 2023, there will be another significant increase in the number of crimes committed at schools,” said police spokeswoman Anja Dierschke.

The data for police interventions in 2023, however, has already been released. In 2021, the numbers went from 750 interventions in 2021 to 1,003 in 2022. Now, there were 1,070 in 2023.

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There has also been a growing incidence of students using actual weapons. While the total number of all weapons seized was not available, there were 38 cases where a ​​“knife attack” was registered in 2021 and 54 in 2022. Threats or shots with firearms occurred three times in 2021 and nine times in 2022.

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The exact figures for 2023 will only be revealed when the next crime statistics are presented. Overall, things are getting more violent and difficult for both students and teachers, as the almost doubling of insults (from 249 to 477) shows.

“We take incidents of violence extremely seriously and offer support and very specific help on site,” said Martin Klesmann, spokesperson for the education administration.

Teachers targeted

Students are not the only ones facing threats. Teachers were also victims of attacks or threats, with data from 2021 showing 123 teachers were victimized, and in 2022, 237 teachers. The data for 2023 is again not available, but police are also already warning it will be higher. “In 2023, there will also be an increase in the number of injured teachers in schools recorded.”

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These numbers are rising despite the Berlin Senate Department for Education recently investing significantly in prevention and support services.

Since 2023, there have been social workers at every school, and psychologists for emergencies and crises have been increased. Counseling centers (known as SIBUZ) to help parents, pupils and teachers are designed to deal with violence and conflict in schools, including in cases of depression, anxiety, aggression, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems.

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Since 2019, experts from Freie Universität and other educational centers have been offering training courses to teachers and staff to deal with bullying and violence in schools. Since then, 1,117 teachers at 641 schools have received training.

Berlin’s school system has become increasingly diverse, like many other German cities. As Remix News has reported, this increasing diversity has led to conflict between students, violence towards teachers, difficulties in classroom learning environments, and falling nationwide test scores, which experts say could harm Germany’s economy over the coming decades.

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