The state must be neutral, is the mantra of the Berlin school administration of Senator Sandra Scheeres (SPD) in the discussion about the headscarf. Therefore, no Muslim teacher should wear it in front of students. Neutral, that sounds simple, direct, unadulterated. Obvious. Right!
And yet it is difficult. Because when the state has to be neutral and how, where it is obliged and where it may open, it is discussed, regulated and lived in various ways. A good example, because it is topical: the school board itself.
As reported, she has been speaking on Twitter as has become common practice for federal and state government agencies. In it she responded to verdicts by the Green top candidate Bettina Jarasch, who had said about the headscarf ruling of the Federal Labor Court: “We now have a decision of the highest court. Our neutrality law is not constitutional. The Scheeres team opposed this on Twitter: “Ms. Jarasch alleges that the Federal Labor Court has declared Berlin’s neutrality law unconstitutional. Fact: The federal labor court cannot and has not declared the law unconstitutional. “
The administration claims that Jarasch claimed what it did not claim
This is how the law is used for politics. Or abused. But who is right? The neutrality law, which prohibits teachers in Berlin from wearing the headscarf, is actually not in accordance with the constitution. Therefore, it must be interpreted in accordance with the constitution that teachers wearing headscarves are allowed to work in the general school service. This is what the Federal Labor Court has decided. But what the school administration officials write is also correct: the federal labor court could not declare the law unconstitutional – and thus null and void. Only the Federal Constitutional Court may do this in the Federal Republic.
The administration deleted the tweet, but at the same time announced that there were no legal reasons; everything was allowed to be said and written.
No that is not necessary. And you don’t even have to try to comply with the constitutional principle of neutrality, which government agencies must strictly observe in their public communications. Suffice it for the official twitterers to claim that Ms Jarasch was claiming something that she did not claim, at least not with the cited quote. In it, the politician did not mention that the court had declared the law unconstitutional.
There is a lack of sincerity. And decency
It is unconstitutional for a government official to impose statements on political opponents who have not made them. It’s one of the most popular means in the struggle for opinion: reproducing the words of others with your own little changes and accents in such a way that your own criticism seems justified – or even, as here, a fact-check comes along style.
It’s more than biased, it’s anti-neutral. There is a lack of sincerity, fairness and decency. That which of course is inevitably lost when you enter the political battle on social media.