Merkel’s endorsement of climate strikes “hypocritical” - teachers’ assoc
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support for the climate school strike movement Fridays for Future is “hypocritical” because it pretends that the government has nothing to do with the climate policy shortcomings decried by students, the head of the German Teachers’ Association (DL), Heinz-Peter Meidinger, said in an interview with the Tageszeitung (taz). Meidinger criticised German politicians for shying away from making a clear case for mandatory school attendance and instead using “a wave of sympathy” for the school strikes and rallying behind them. “I share the belief that Germany and each one of us can do more for climate protection,” Meidinger said. “But if schools abandon their neutrality, we enter dangerous territory,” as schools then have to evaluate every demonstration according to sympathy points, for example if parents decide to protest against immigrants. Meidinger said he is against sanctioning students who skip school for climate protests, but expects them to eventually show up in class again on Fridays and continue pursuing their commitment in NGOs or political parties instead.
The global Fridays for Future strikes enjoy great support in Germany, with tens of thousands of school students having joined a major protest on 15 March and two-thirds of the broader public backing the strikes, according to a survey. Chancellor Merkel said she “strongly welcomes” the fact that students act on their political convictions, thereby upsetting parts of her conservative party, who argued that the chancellor’s support undermines "responsible" teachers and headmasters.