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Victimisation in schools (bullying/harassment/racist violence) ?

Key Area:
Discrimination, Equality
14/12/2011 - 17:31
Short Answer

There are several racist incidents in schools reported by NGOs. However there is no comprehensive collection of data in this regard.

Qualitative Info

There are several racist incidents in schools reported by NGOs. However there is no comprehensive collection of data in this regard. The following examples constitute some exemplary cases of discrimination:

A case which attracted a lot of public and media attention occurred in a school in Graz. During a school trip, two girls tried to burn the headscarf of a female Muslim classmate. The fringes of the headscarf were damaged, the scarf itself did not catch fire. After talking to the girls, the school principal and the Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung (LVT) [Regional Agency for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter-Terrorism] ruled out religious motives for the act and declared that it was just a harmless fight. The spokeswoman of the Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft (IGGiÖ) [Islamic Faith Community] stated that although it might have been just a normal fight between school girls the incident should not be played down. She said that presumably the two aggressors had been aware of the symbolic character of the act. Since the two girls had not been ready to apologise to the victim, they were suspended from the school and charged for attempted bodily harm.

Other exemplary incidents in schools concerning racist slander: a girl was mobbed by her classmates because of her black skin  and a Chechen boy was insulted by his classmates and teachers as “weird and a potential terrorist” because of his status as asylum seeker.  Increased complaints by parents were documented by Helping Hands Graz: their children were forbidden to use their mother tongue in everyday conversations at school. 

In another case, which was also reported on by the media, a university staff member detected “systematic discrimination” with regard to students who were long-term resident third-country nationals: they had been regularly asked to pay university fees although there were laws explicitly excluding long-term resident third country nationals from this obligation.

Further incidents happened in Linz where a teacher used defaming expressions in regard to persons of dark skin and in Graz where a teacher degraded a student of Egyptian origin.


Groups affected/interested Migrants, Muslims, Ethnic minorities
Type (R/D) Anti-migrant/xenophobia, Islamophobia, Afrophobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Education
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