Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good News From Germany: Children May Now Be Both Seen AND Heard

We have to consider the rights of children to shout while they are growing up
Axel Strohbusch
Department of Noise Protection

Shouting is a right!

Noisy children no longer verboten in Berlin

Children in the German capital Berlin are to be exempt from strict laws on noise pollution.
An amendment to the city's law now makes it "fundamentally and socially tolerable" for members of the younger generation to make a racket.

Berlin has become the first of Germany's 16 federal states to adopt such legislation.
But all Berliners - children included - must continue to respect the official quiet time at night and all day Sunday.

Until now, only church bells, emergency sirens, snow ploughs and tractors have fallen outside the stringent rules on excessive noise in Germany.
Good to know they were able to fit children in there somewhere--especially since Germans seem to place a premium on their quiet:
In Berlin alone, hundreds of complaints are made each year about noise levels in kindergartens and children's playgrounds.

Some day-care facilities have even been forced to close after local residents have gone to court in search of a quiet life.
But from the way this is phrased, it seems that it is not enough to just say that its OK for kids to make noise--rather it is a right:
Now Berlin's local government, the senate, has passed a law giving children the right to be noisy, the first law of its kind in Germany.

Axel Strohbusch, from Berlin's Department of Noise Protection, said it was "the first time we have it written in law that we have to consider the rights of children to shout and make noise while they are growing up and this must be considered by all the neighbours".
This apparently has nothing to do with free speech, it is just a right to act your age.
Of course, considering how speakers at universities have been shouted down these days, it may be that the right to act like a child extends pretty far.

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