Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Successes of the German school system

Before you read this and start getting uptight and defensive, I just want to say one thing. Don't get me wrong. I'm not bashing schools, or implying that the children who attend them are generally social deviants or that parents whose children attend school are in any way deficient in their commitment to their duty, or some other guff like that.

What I am bashing, however, is the automatic, ignorant comment that is invariably spouted, robot-like, by any judge or official functionary every time the subject of homeschooling comes up. Here I mean, the statement (yawn) that school is indispensible for the proper social development of a child into a decent citizen and that homeschooling would only encourage the promotion of parallel societies.

Anyway, today I was sitting in a cafe, idling away my time over a cup of coffee, while my daughter was at her riding lesson. To pass the time I paged through a copy of that popular German tabloid, Bild. And came across this shocking story.

The tormented Jasmin: The girl who tortured her talks.

She hides her tears behind her hands. "I'm so sorry", says Denise (14) softly. "I'm so ashamed of myself." Thus, slowly, what she did to her victim is sinking in. And what she has done to herself. The police are investigating attempted homicide.

Denise is one of the seven girls who brutally tortured the 14 year Jasmin from Bottrop (NRW). For twelve hours, they tormented Jasmin with kicks, hitting, hot wax and glowing hot needles. Up till then, they had been a clique, friends...

Denise stammers: "I don't know any more why I joined in at all." She says, "I did it because Ramona wanted me to." Ramona, another of Jasmin's tormentors, is just 13 years old.

Criminal psychologist, Christian L├╝dke, explains why these young girls went out of control.

„One calls it a deficiency in impulse control. The person looks for a weak victim, who is fully broken down and humiliated. The culprit loses control and can't stop anymore. In this intoxication, his own dissatisfaction is fought against. There is also a degree of criminal energy, that we haven't known of in girls up till now.

How many times can you say peer pressure?

Two pages later, I found this article, about one of the alleged brains behind the attacks on the World Trade Center, Said Bahaji, son of a German mother and a Moroccan father, and model pupil. Although I do not tolerate or condone his actions or the thinking behind them, I can imagine a possible scenario which led to them. Half-German boy who looks Arabic, never quite fits in anywhere finds his solace in the extreme teachings of fundamentalist Islam and in a group who welcomes him as one of their own.

And they say Homeschooling creates parallel societies?

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