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Dispute over the mayor's participation in the school festival

Tim Lochner (non-party), new mayor of Pirna / Photo: dpa
Tim Lochner (non-party), new mayor of Pirna / Photo: dpa

The mayor of Pirna, Tim Lochner, is close to the AfD, even though he is not a member of the party himself. High school students in the town are now resisting Lochner's invitation to their school party.

Pupils at Pirna's Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium are resisting the participation of Lord Mayor Tim Lochner (non-party) at a school party this Wednesday. In a letter published at the weekend, the school management was asked to disinvite the head of the town. Lochner (54) won the town hall in Pirna for the AfD last December.

In their letter, the high school students point out that Lochner ran as a candidate for a party whose Saxon state association is classified as right-wing extremist by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Lochner represents positions that are in no way compatible with the school's mission statement, which was adopted just a few months ago. The letter has been signed by around 100 pupils as well as many parents and graduates of the grammar school.

Lochner himself nevertheless wants to take part in the festival - "also to dispel prejudices and misperceptions that have been enriched by the media and other means", as the mayor's office said on Monday.

"Because it is in the interest of the entire city society to remain in conversation, even on controversial topics. This is especially true against the backdrop of increasingly prominent tendencies to belittle and dehumanize political dissidents." Lochner was aware that his appearance at the school festival would "not meet with unanimous approval", but could be seen as a "useful contribution to fair coexistence".

School principal Kristian Raum had previously defended the invitation and acknowledged discussions surrounding the mayor. "There are now several ways of dealing with each other and I have opted for the more difficult path because I believe it is the right one: talking to each other, offering a discourse and holding the Lord Mayor accountable as the person responsible for Pirna. Visiting the schools of the city of Pirna is part of his official duties," argued the principal.

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