Parents at a grade school in Vienna’s Donaustadt district were recently shocked to find out that the school—in addition to using other criteria like first language and ratio of girls and boys—now takes into consideration students’ religious affiliations when sorting them into their classes.
After hearing rumors that classes would be sorted according to religious affiliation, a concerned mother confronted the school’s headmaster on the first day of school, only to have her fears confirmed. The headmaster confirmed that the school’s lower grade levels were sorting students according to their religious convicting, noting that it was necessary for administrative reasons, Kronen Zeitung reports.
The headmaster of the school told the mother that practically there is no other way since religion teachers teach at different schools and those students who have withdrawn from religious classes need to be looked after together. The administrative effort is simply too high, according to the headmaster.
“I don’t think that’s right. A social, linguistic, and religious mix in a class is important,” said the mother, adding: “It can’t be that the only subject from which you can opt out determines the composition of a class.”
The Education Directorate, which is responsible for overseeing all administrative activity taking place at primary and secondary education levels, confirmed that religion is a factor used to determine a class’s composition. However, it any discrimination or segregation, and noted that the sorting method does not mean that classes would be rigidly separated based on religious creed