Teacher sues pupil for tripping her up

An Austrian teacher is suing one of her pupils for €1,700, claiming that he tripped her up on purpose in the classroom, causing serious bruising, pain and suffering.

Teacher sues pupil for tripping her up
Photo of a classroom: Shutterstock

The teacher, who works in a school in east Tyrol, said she was unable to return to work for several weeks after the incident.

She was collecting folders from students during an art class when she tripped over the 14-year-old boy’s outstretched legs, and fell to the floor.

The boy’s parents have said that the requested sum is ridiculous, and that the boy’s classmates are willing to testify that he didn’t trip the teacher on purpose.

He claims that he had stretched out his legs before she came near to his desk, and was busy drawing. Classmates said that he even tried to move his legs out of her way as she approached him.

The boy’s lawyer, Gerhard Seirer, said that he was known for being a well-behaved pupil and that the teacher’s claim that he had intentionally tripped her up was “defamatory”.

The case will go to court again in mid-February.

So far legal costs are around €2,000, and the case is likely to get more expensive the longer it takes to reach an agreement. Whoever loses the case will be liable for the costs.

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Austrian MPs give green light to headscarf ban in primary schools

Austrian MPs on Wednesday approved a law aimed at banning the headscarf in primary schools, a measure proposed by the ruling right-wing government.

Austrian MPs give green light to headscarf ban in primary schools
Illustration Photo: AFP

So as to avoid charges that the law discriminates against Muslims, the text refers to any “ideologically or religiously influenced clothing which is associated with the covering of the head”.

However, representatives of both parts of the governing coalition, the centre-right People's Party (OeVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), have made it clear that the law is targeted at the Islamic headscarf.

FPOe education spokesman Wendelin Moelzer said the law was “a signal against political Islam” while OeVP MP Rudolf Taschner said the measure was necessary to free girls from “subjugation”.

The government says the patka head covering worn by Sikh boys or the Jewish kippa would not be affected.

Austria's official Muslim community organisation IGGOe has previously condemned the proposals as “shameless” and a “diversionary tactic”.

The IGGOe says that in any case only a “miniscule number” of girls would be affected.

Opposition MPs almost all voted against the measure, with some accusing the government of focusing on garnering positive headlines rather than child welfare.

The government admits that the law is likely to be challenged at Austria's constitutional court, either on grounds of religious discrimination or because similar legislation affecting schools is normally passed with a two-thirds majority of MPs.

The OeVP and FPOe formed a coalition in late 2017 after elections in which both parties took a tough anti-immigration stance and warned of the dangers of so-called “parallel societies”.