the small, white slips of paper spin in unison in their hands and their legs alternately flap briefly in the air before they have solid ground under their feet again. This is how anne werner and jan glodschei wait for their appearance. The two 15-year-olds host the event at which their school is named a "school without racism – school with courage" (SOR-SMC) is awarded.
From students for students
The Germany-wide youth initiative SOR-SMC has adopted Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as its guiding principle. There any form of discrimination, be it because of the sex, the skin color, the sexual orientation or a handicap is declared forbidden.
"The project is not anchored as such in the school. It relies solely on the initiative of the students", emphasizes stefan lutz-simon, the state coordinator of the initiative, and would prefer to let the students take the floor again right away.
To be more precise, the students of class 10f of the Coburg II secondary school have been working on this topic for a year now. "Yes, we think that’s good, we’ll do that", anne describes the students’ reaction when their class teacher first told them about the project. In order to be accepted into the SOR-SMC network, the students have to meet three requirements from then on.
first, they must get at least 70 percent of everyone who learns and works at their school to sign a self-commitment declaration. In it, they stipulate that in the future, should discrimination occur, they will actively intervene. At Coburg II secondary school, a total of 80 percent signed the declaration.
Secondly, every school in the initiative must hold a project day on the topic at least once a year. The students formed six working groups for this purpose. And each presented the results of their work during the event. Not everything worked out, but a lot did. For example, they created a radio report about the international week in coburg, organized a joint meal with the foreign applicants to the college, made a video about bullying and played a soccer match with SV bosporus 1970. In addition to the soccer game, the students also gained a sponsor during this time, who is there to support them. Finally, this is the third prerequisite for joining the network.
Not looking away
the choice fell on 31-year-old bjorn wortmann. The youth secretary of the German trade union federation had previously given a lecture on Ausschwitz to the class. "I am very pleased that the students asked me", says wortmann, who will support the students in their projects in the future. Because yesterday’s award is by no means the end of the work. After all, it’s not a figurehead, as anne and jan emphasize in their speech. but the commitment "that we will constantly work to ensure that our school does not look the other way".
At the end, when the class teacher thomas dietzel says how proud he is of his students, they both briefly knead their white slips of paper again. This time, however, not with excitement, but with emotion.