Knowledge in its media staging

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Yet, a sudden surge of political activity in that field really started in the late 1990´s, when media attention was being directed to several cases of “misbehaviour” committed by teachers and principals integrating disabled children and, thus, defying the laws in force at that time: “[..] a child, a mentally disabled child, had been taken out of the [regular] school, the state’s supervisory school authority did this, and put the child in a school for disabled children, although all the people involved had said that what was happening there was great. The parents had been satisfied, the school had been happy, the teachers were content, so everybody agreed with what had been done there, and, just because of the law, the child was taken out of there and put into a school for mentally disabled children. There was a decision, it was decided in 1998 by the Higher Administrative Court of Bavaria that this action is legal…” (I6: 34-45).

Although the interviewed expert made a slight miscalculation with the date (the decision was actually made in the year 1996, that was only one of several cases of public misbehaviour reported to us, which seem to have triggered public awareness of the actual possibility of integrative schooling. Another case is that of the family Wild, who went through all available legal procedures, in vain, to get their disabled child into a public school and who eventually emigrated to Austria: “[..] that went through the whole supra-regional press, the Bild-journal [German yellow press] reported about it, this issue was really being pursued there, this story of the Wilds. They had filed a petition for the schooling of their child in a public school in Berchingen, which, of course, had been declined, so they took legal actions [..]. They went to the Administrative Court in Munich and lost, they lost in the Higher Administrative Court of Bavaria, and their lawsuit wasn’t even accepted in the Federal Constitutional Court, and so they emigrated to Reuthe / Austria. And of course this went through the press, and the pressure by the parents was incredibly high [..]. Then, reacting to this pressure, there was in 1998 a decision by the Bavarian Parliament [..], initiated by some CSU-politicians, saying that in cases of children suffering of Down´s syndrome, it should first of all be tested, if they could possibly be educated at a public school. And that was actually going against the laws in force at that time, which were propagating the equality of learning-goals for all children educated at the same school [..], and at that moment it became evident that in the CSU, in the government, a change of mentality had taken place” (I6: 58-73).

With the issue of integration finally out in the open, and with the Bavarian Parliament basically supporting a softening of the strict separation of healthy and disabled children, a phase of active information-gathering and counselling by experts began, which found its preliminary peak in December 2001 in the form of the draft of an amendment to the Bavarian Education Law by the SPD-fraction of the Bavarian Parliament.

NASSEHI A., VON DER HAGEN-DEMSZKY A. & MAYR K. (2009), The Amendment of the Bavarian Education Law in 2003: A Long Way towards Inclusion, Report, 6.

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