Children told to speak German or pay ‘penalty’

Children told to speak German or pay 'penalty'
Photo: Canton of Solothurn
Parents of children who do not speak German at all times at a school in the canton of Solothurn have been warned they will be forced to pay a financial penalty, according to a report.

The municipal council of Egerkingen has decided to require pupils who do not speak German at the village’s primary school will be required to take ten classes in German at a cost to the parents of 550 francs.

The decision was brought to light this week by an online report from the Oltner Tagblatt newspaper, which noted that up to 70 percent of classes are filled with children of immigrant background.

The council modified its regulations for the kindergarten and primary school levels, making German or the local German dialect de rigueur for the pupils.

Children who fail to obey the “German-only” rule will initially receive an oral warning, Oltner Tagblatt said.

Written warnings will be issued for second-time infractions, while the course of ten classes will be imposed for any child caught failing to speak German three times.

“It cannot be that Swiss children are marginalized,” Johanna Bartholdi, president of the Egerkingen municipal council is quoted as saying.

Also, the school cannot pay for interpreters and extra German lessons for non-German speakers, which is why parents should be “sensitized” to the situation, she said.

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