Majority of children experience violence or exclusion at German schools

Majority of children experience violence or exclusion at German schools

More than half of all children and adolescents in Germany have experienced exclusion, teasing or physical violence while at school. A further quarter do not feel safe.

65 percent of schoolchildren have negative experiences

These are the findings of a study commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation, in which 2.448 schoolchildren aged eight to 14 were interviewed to gain an insight of their day-to-day experiences at primary and secondary school

Across all school types, around 65 percent of surveyed students said that they have at least one negative experience per month. The number of attacks at primary schools was particularly high, with almost 30 percent of the boys and girls reporting being teased, marginalised or “deliberately hit” by other students in the last month. Only 22 percent of primary school students said that they were not affected by attacks or marginalisation

At Haupt-, Real-, Gesamt- and Sekundarschulen (all different types of secondary schools in the German school system), around one in five students reported experiencing these abuses within the past month. The figure for Gymnasien (academic secondary schools) was one in 10. Between 36 and 43 percent said that they hadn’t experienced any kind of violence or marginalisation in the past month. 

A quarter do not feel safe at school in Germany

Although the survey focused on the students’ experiences at school, the responses showed that these attacks can also occur on the way to school, outside school or on social media. Consequently, around a quarter of the students said that they did not feel safe at school or in their local neighbourhood. Although the vast majority saw home as a place of safety, around 8,6 percent of respondents did not feel safe at home either. 

Another particularly concerning aspect of the report was the finding that children with material difficulties generally experience violence more frequently than those without. Despite being generally well-equipped for school (for instance, possessing a mobile phone), around 52 percent of adolescents expressed worry about their family’s financial situation. According to the survey results, these children are teased, marginalised and beaten more often by their peers.

The study’s author, Sabine Andresen from the University of Frankfurt, emphasised that there is an urgent need for action. Jörg Dräger, a board member for the Bertelsmann Foundation, called on politicians to “better protect children and adolescents.”



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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