Asterisks and pauses: The legal dispute over gender-neutral language in Berlin schools is entering the next round. The father, who failed at the end of March before the administrative court with an urgent application against the practice at his daughters’ school, now wants to appeal to the Higher Administrative Court (OVG). This was announced by the German Language Association on Thursday, which supports the lawsuit. However, the OVG Berlin-Brandenburg has not yet received the case, as a spokeswoman said on request.
The plaintiff objects to the fact that teachers at his daughters’ school sometimes leave pauses when speaking – for example with the word “teacher” – in order to avoid the masculine form that has long been customary. Sometimes asterisks or an inside I are used in emails to parents or in school assignments. The plaintiff and the association refer to this as an ideology.
“Teachers and schools have to be neutral,” explained the association’s chairman, Walter Kramer. “Students of all ages must learn a language that is standardized and understood everywhere.” The gender spelling deviates from the official spelling and violates the principle of neutrality.
The Berlin administrative court decided otherwise. Against the background of the state’s educational mandate, it is not clear that the school supervisory board has to intervene against gender-appropriate language. The court clarified that the school management had given teachers the freedom to use gender in the classroom and at the same time pointed out that the spelling rules had to be observed. The use of gender-neutral language in teaching materials does not go beyond the scope granted by the framework curricula. Gender-neutral communication with parents and students is also not objectionable.
Broadcast: rbb24 Inforadio, April 6th, 2023, 6 p.m