The Teachers’ Lounge (2023) | Transcript

When one of her students is suspected of theft, teacher Carla Nowak decides to get to the bottom of the matter. Caught between her ideals and the school system, the consequences of her actions threaten to break her.
The Teachers' Lounge (2023)

The Teachers’ Lounge (2023)
Original title: Das Lehrerzimmer
Director: İlker Çatak

Plot: When her money kept in the teachers’ lounge is stolen, Carla a lady teacher of the school decides to investigate. She faces objections from her colleagues but continues nevertheless little knowing that this would the beginning of serious problems for her.

* * *


Yes, I see.


CARLA: Like I said, we went over this last week…

MAN: If something happens to the kids…

I’ll give you the number again…

One second.


Are you still there?


Yes, I’m still here.


Um, yes.

MAN: Got it?


Six, three, seven, four.

Four, yes. I’ll hear from you?

You’ll hear from me.

I’ve made a note and will take care of it.

Great. Bye.



Hello, Ms. Nowak.


[SIGHS] Sorry I’m late.

MILOSZ: It’s fine.

Mr. Liebenwerda has explained it already.

Good, so you know what happened.

JENNY: We already said that we know nothing.

MILOSZ: You may not know for certain, but do you have any leads?

THOMAS: Did you see anything unusual recently?

Students acting strangely?

MILOSZ: I know this is unpleasant for you.

And not just for you.

MILOSZ: But put yourself in the victims’ shoes.

We need to put a stop to this.

Class representatives have a duty.

What can we say if we don’t know anything?

THOMAS: Lukas?

Does nobody come to mind?

Someone with a new smart phone,

expensive clothes or lots of cash?

Don’t want to talk.


Then you don’t have to, Lukas.

THOMAS: That’s right. We don’t have to talk at all.



Look here.

I’ll take my pen, go down this list, and all you need to do is

nod if you have suspicions.


[CLEARS THROAT] Mr. Liebenwerda?

Of course, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, okay?

But I suggest we continue. We’re almost done.

This kid?



Great. Thanks, Lukas.


MILOSZ: I’d like to remind you to keep what we’ve discussed to yourselves.


LUKAS: Okay.


LUKAS: Okay.




ALL: [SINGING] Good morning Good, good

Good morning, morning

Good morning, good, good Good morning, morning

CARLA: I see all the books.

I see the files and notebooks.


Then take out your homework. I’ll come around.

In the interim, look at this warmup in silence.



CARLA: Yes, good.



Take another look at exercise two.

Can you explain it to him?

Expand first…

I can’t do it.

You need the same denominator so you can add them together.

Oh, right.





Who wants to solve the warmup?

Is 0.999 the same as 1?

Hatice, yes?

It’s not really the same number.

CARLA: Not really?

Then please come up to the board and show us why not.

Well, if you subtract 0.999 from 1, there’s still a remainder of 0.000 and then a 1.

So you think there’s a number between 0.999 and 1?



So, is this proof or an assumption?




Okay, Oskar wants a try. Thanks, Hatice.

BOYS: Nerd.

BOY: Creep.

OSKAR: All right, 0.111… is equal to one ninth. And nine times one ninth equals 1.

So 0.999… equals 1.

CARLA: What do you all say?

GIRL: I don’t get it.

There must be a gap between 0.9 and 1.0.

Thanks, Oskar.

Does anyone else not understand?

Right, well, it was complex, but the crucial thing to understand is that a proof needs a derivation that builds up step by step.


We’ll get there, don’t worry. Come in.

Sorry to disturb you.

If I might take over for a minute.

Hello, everyone.

We have to interrupt briefly.

Mr. Dudek?

Would the girls please stand up?

GIRL: Why?

Please stand up.

Just stand up.

BOY: And now?

MILOSZ: And now leave the room.

Go on, just leave.

Wait outside, okay?

We’ll ask you back shortly.

THOMAS: Don’t go far.

Close the door.


Right. The rest of you, listen up.

We’d like to look in your wallets.

Take them out,

put them on the table and come here.

BOY 1: Is this allowed?

It’s voluntary, of course. Nothing to hide,

nothing to fear.

MILOSZ: Wallets on the table and up front.

[WHISPERS] Listen, what is this?

Weren’t you there when they were questioned?

Who sits here?

BOY 2: Oskar sits there.

Oskar, where is your wallet?

I don’t have one.

You don’t have to show it.

I just said I don’t have one!

And this one?

THOMAS: Guys, whose seat is this?

DR. BÖHM: Ms. Nowak?

It’s Ali’s seat.

MILOSZ: Ali, come with me, please.

Come on.



MRS. YILMAZ: I gave him money this morning

so he could buy a gift later.

For his cousin.

DR. BÖHM: Might I ask what he was going to buy?

I think it was a computer game.



[IN GERMAN] Yeah, for a computer game.

CARLA: Well, dear Ali,

Mr. and Mrs. Yılmaz, I think that clears things up.

Let’s put this behind us.

MRS. YILMAZ: What gave you the idea?

CARLA: Sorry?

Why my Ali?

DR. BÖHM: He had an unusual amount of money.


What if a mother likes to put money in her kid’s pockets?

Mrs. Yılmaz

Carrying money isn’t a crime.

CARLA: True.

We have a socalled zero tolerance policy,

which means we look into any matter,

no matter how small.

What will the other kids think of him now?

You know how they are.

DR. BÖHM: Don’t worry, Mrs. Yılmaz. We’ll set it right.

Set it right?

DR. BÖHM: Yes, set it right.

We’re lucky the suspicion didn’t prove true,

or this would be much graver.

Sorry you had to come in.

DR. BÖHM: Yes, we’re sorry.


[IN GERMAN] Might I ask you to please speak German?

Speak German?

[CLEARS THROAT] Right, German it is.

My son doesn’t steal. Never.

If he did, I’d break his legs.





KUHN: Ms. Nowak?

The substitute teacher plan is in your pigeonhole.

Ms. Holbach is on sick leave.

I saw, thanks.

THOMAS: No one got frisked. It was voluntary.

[SCOFFS] It wasn’t voluntary. You know that perfectly well.

A headsup would’ve been cordial.

VANESSA: You still not on a firstname basis?

I understand your outrage,

but it has been going on for a while.

There are people here who steal all they can

without rhyme or reason.

We need to act when we have the chance.

VANESSA: Did those pencils ever reappear?


THOMAS: One thousand pencils.

Who the hell needs a thousand pencils?

VANESSA: I still say it started

when we got the new cleaning company.

Sorry, but…

LORE: Watch what you say, Vanessa.

How about we hire a private detective?

Right, some guy smoking a pipe sits in the yard like a novel!

THOMAS: Like in stores.

I’m off.

We need to act. Right, Mr. Liebenwerda?


And now hands on your knees! One, two! One, two!

On three, we raise our arms and legs.

GIRL: Together?


One, two, three!


And those who can, or want to, can shake them.



CARLA: Go on, Enno!

Nice dribbling.


You two okay?

CARLA: Great, Vera!

Pass. Yes. Very good.

Hey, everyone!

Keep it clean.

Ali, get up. It happens.

I’ve had it.

Luise and Jieun do what they want.

BOY: They left.

Yeah, where are they?

Calm down and let’s play on, Ali.

It wasn’t that bad. Come on.

Jenny, can you check on Jieun and Luise?

But then we can’t play anymore.


Great, Lukas.

Ruben, come here.

Take over as ref, I’ll be right back.

Jieun? Luise?


Are you coming in?

Sorry, Ms. Nowak. We wanted some fresh air.

Luise, show me what you hid under your legs.


Come on. Show me.

Were you smoking?

Not us.

So why the lighter?

Um, to cook heroin.


Jieun, that’s not funny.

I think it is.

You said you’re ill. I trusted you.

JIEUN: We just wanted fresh air.

JENNY: I can attest to it.

Okay, then in you go.

And what about my lighter?

I’m keeping it for now.

LUISE: For how long?

I’ll speak to your parents.


Please don’t do that.


But next time,

tell me before you go out, got it?

LUISE: And the lighter?

Got it?

Got it.

Yes, Ms. Nowak.

CARLA: Fine.

Pick up your lighter at the end of the day.

Now in you go.

OSKAR: I repeat it, I do it.

In the fuse box, behind the wardrobe.

See you at home.

Hey, Oskar.



This was in the gym and doesn’t belong to my students.

The diary of some Steffi. No last name.

A diary. Did you read it?

I’d never.

Cross your heart? Nor would I.

I was still having trouble with my email account yesterday.

Could you check my login?

GIRL 1: Ms. Kuhn?

KUHN: I don’t think so. Yes?

I need a sanitary product. It’s urgent.

T or P?

T, please.


GIRL 2: I’m good.

How many?

GIRL 1: Two.

MARIAM: I’ll pass it on. No problem.

Thanks. Bye.

KUHN: Bye.

Ms. Kuhn?


My login details?

Like I said, sorry but I can’t.

Why not?

Because Mariam already did.


It’s in your pigeonhole.

CARLA: You’re great. Thanks.


“You’re great.”

CARLA: [WHISPERS] You’re already done?

Don’t you want to doublecheck your answers?

OSKAR: Can I go outside?

But keep quiet.



It’s not mine.


It’s your handwriting, of course it is.

Give me the test.


Give it to me.


It’s not his.

I’m talking to Tom. Be quiet.

Give it to me.

TOM: No.


Please continue.


Take this and start over. You have 20 minutes.

What use is that?

Either try again or fail for cheating.

It wasn’t mine.

No discussion.


CARLA: Pens down and bring your tests up front.


Tom, one moment, please.

I’ll be outside.


CARLA: Well, Tom.

I don’t approve of your behavior.

What did I do?

First you cheated,

then you argued and distracted your fellow students.

I looked at your cheat sheet.

When you make a cheat sheet, at least get the stuff right.

You copied the errors, then claimed it’s not your sheet?

How would you feel if I lied to you?

Not cool, right?


What am I supposed to say?

I want you to see that your behavior isn’t fair to others.

The rules apply to everyone. Got it?

You got it, Tom?

Yeah. I’m not an idiot.

Anything to add?



Sorry, that’s what you want to hear?

Can I go now?

Yes, you may.


[IN ENGLISH] We’ll let the parents know.

That’s great.

When will you have a list of the participants?

I hope by the end of this month, good for you?

[IN GERMAN] Good morning, Carla.

One question.


Your next period’s gym, right?

[IN ENGLISH] Just a second.


Sorry, I wanted to ask

if we could discuss one of your students later.

Of course.

It’s Ali.

What is it this time?

He barely passed last semester. He may have to repeat the year.



We’re discussing Ali, Thomas.


CARLA: Tricky? Why?

Just tricky. In danger of flunking.


One second.

[IN ENGLISH] Tim? We’ll have to catch up some other time.

I’m sorry, I have to go.

When you have time.

Okay, okay.

Enough’s done for the moment.

[IN GERMAN] Is it his oral exam?

That, too.


[IN ENGLISH] Yeah. Bye, Tim.

[IN GERMAN] Semester just started.

He might improve. Spoken to his parents?

Not yet.


Do you know what their jobs are?

I think his dad drives a cab.

How is that relevant?

Maybe no one’s at home to help him study.

Did you believe them?

The parents?

Yes, the other day.

Is this about Ali’s grades or the theft?

Nonsense, it’s not about that. That doesn’t matter.

Right. To answer your question, I believe the parents.

I believe they have integrity and that Ali didn’t steal.

It was a question, Carla. A simple question.

That’s enough, Vanessa.

VANESSA: Everyone’s so uptight.

Thanks a lot, Carla.

Let’s get back to work, then.






Hey Carla.





I just wanted to say I’m sorry.

What do you mean?

[IN POLISH] Frisking your class the other day was not all right.

It’s okay. Forget about it.

[IN GERMAN] Can you do me a favor?

Let’s talk German at work, please.

Why? Are you ashamed?


It’s better because of the colleagues.

Fine, why not.










MAN: Ms. Kuhn, the printers are on strike again.

Again? Sounds like a job for the faculty council.

MAN: Yes, paper jam.

Try the flap.

MAN: I’m useless with these things.

KUHN: It’s usually stuck there.

I have class and you’re faster.

KUHN: We’ll look into it when we have time.

MAN: Thanks.

KUHN: He doesn’t want to. He wants us to do it for him.

Ms. Nowak?

How can we help?


You see, Ms. Kuhn, I have a huge problem.

KUHN: Yes. What can we do for you?

How do I put this nicely?

Excuse me, could Ms. Kuhn and I speak privately?

Sure. You want me to leave?

KUHN: Ah! Mariam, take a look at the printer.

A physics degree isn’t enough to solve the problem.

You want to sit down?

Uh, no, thanks.

I was in gym class and my jacket was in the teachers’ lounge.

KUHN: Uhhuh.

What’s with the jacket?

The jacket is still there.

So what’s the problem?

My wallet was inside the jacket, and in the wallet, there was…


Money, that’s right.

There was.

You mean someone from the faculty?

What makes you say faculty?

It was in the teacher’s lounge,

it couldn’t have been students.


Come in!


So, who was there?

Thank you!

Liebenwerda was there,

Ms. Semnik… I wasn’t there the whole time, so…

CARLA: Mmmhmm.

Mariam, of course…

Liebenwerda, Semnik, Ms. Irfan.

Can you imagine they did it?

Ms. Kuhn.

Do you have something to say to me?

Like what?

Your blouse, I’ve never seen it before.

My blouse? What about my blouse?

Ms. Kuhn, this is very unpleasant for me,

but there are indications that you did it.

I did what?


You’re kidding.

I don’t want this to make waves. Return the money,

promise this will stop,

and we’ll forget it right now, okay?

You’re serious? Really?

Think of it as a chance. We’ll never mention it again.

A chance? This is an outrage!

Please leave now.

Please leave now!



Uh, can I go back inside?





Can I show you something?

DR. BÖHM: Ms. Kuhn, stop what you’re doing

and come to my office.

OSKAR: Mom, have you eaten yet?

KUHN: No, we’ll eat together. Wait for me.

OSKAR: But hurry, I’m starving.

Please have a seat.


Well, Ms. Kuhn, you can guess what this is about.

Do you have something to tell us?

This allegation is totally impertinent.

DR. BÖHM: All right, but we have a problem

and we need to talk about it.

It’s not an allegation.

Yes, it is.

I mean, do you have proof?


Hand it over.

Ms. Nowak.

Knowing you, Ms. Kuhn, I can’t believe what I’m seeing.

This is your proof? You can’t recognize anyone.

DR. BÖHM: But the blouse.

KUHN: Yes?

If I’m not mistaken,

it’s the blouse you’re wearing right now.

You checked that none of the 70 people here wear a similar one?

50% of those people are men, so they don’t wear blouses

and the other 50% were in class or are sick.

If we can’t find a solution, I’ll have to report this.

What kind of solution?

A joint solution.

As a start, you could give Ms. Nowak her money back.


So you’ve already declared me guilty.

Here you go.


[CRYING] There, take it!

Well, as luck would have it,

I have to go to the ATM because I have no money at all.

Or is there anything

that belongs to you here? Please, take it.

Or do you want to frisk me?


This is part of our daily routine now.




You okay?

One moment.

CARLA: Ms. Kuhn?

OSKAR: What’s wrong?

Ms. Kuhn, can we talk for a moment?

OSKAR: Where are we going?

Ms. Kuhn, please stop for a second!

OSKAR: Tell me what happened.

KUHN: Come on.

OSKAR: Let go of me!


Come on, please. Let’s go.


DR. BÖHM: I’ll tell you later.

Can we talk privately?

You can speak in front of Mr. Dudek.

I think we’re making a mistake.

DR. BÖHM: Oh, really?

Strictly speaking, the video isn’t clear proof.

DR. BÖHM: It’s too late to fear your own courage.

There’s another problem.

Your video violates personal rights.

Not only Ms. Kuhn’s, but the entire faculty’s.


We shouldn’t have shown it.

Spilled milk, Ms. Nowak.

What now?

I’ll call our lawyer, who’ll say to turn it over to the police…

Police? Is that necessary?

…file charges

against person unknown.

Until then, we must all agree on one phrasing, one wording, okay?

We’ll refrain from accusations, suspicion or prejudice.

Got it. I’ll communicate it.

DR. BÖHM: Understood?

And what about Oskar?


CARLA: Not bad, Luise.

BOY: Luise, what did you get?

CARLA: Well done.


And Ela.

ELA: Awesome!

Did you guys revise together?



CARLA: You’ve still got work to do.

Ali, much better.

Awesome, a C! It’s a C!

CARLA: You usually get at least a C. What happened here?

Congratulations. Great job, Oskar.

Really great.

Vera, well done.

It’s a B.

CARLA: Ruben?

Not bad.


I’m happy.

What did you get?

CARLA: Everyone!



I emailed parents about the England exchange. Remind them?


Good. Josephine?

Could you put the grade overview on the board?

Yes, please.



Who wants to see the grade overview on the board?



CARLA: There are…

Which of you?

Which of you would rather not see it displayed?


Josephine, hey!

Josephine, why is this important to you?

Well, I’d like to know where I stand.

You’re sitting in a chair.



What if you got the worst one?

Tough. Should’ve studied more.

Yes, what if you got a bad grade and everyone wants to see it?


RUBY: Well, it’ll pass.

In a week or two, no one will remember who got an A or an F.

In that case, I don’t have to put it up.




Let’s continue. I won’t put on display the overview.

If you…

BOY: The whole class…

If you want to know where you’re at, see me after class.


STUDENT 1: Oh no.

Everyone put up your chairs. Thanks.

STUDENT 2: Shame, I would have liked to see the grades.

Ms. Nowak, I need the register.

STUDENT 3: Bye, Ms. Nowak. CARLA: Here.

Thank you. Bye.


Are you waiting for something, Oskar?

You can be proud of your outstanding test.

Look at this.

I meant to give it to you.

Know what it is?

It’s a magic cube.

It’s about mathematics, not magic.

There are algorithms

to solve the cube in no time. Know what an algorithm is?

A clearly defined set of steps to solve a given problem.


Want to try?

I could lend it to you, if you like.

OSKAR: What do I need to do?

You turn it until every side shows only one color.

It’s getting worse.

Keep it until you’ve solved it. All right?

If something’s on your mind, let me know, all right?

Or Ms. Semnik, your guidance counselor.

Why did my mom cry yesterday?

Didn’t she tell you?

I see.

Did you argue with her?



Hi, Oskar. Come in.

Have a seat.

LORE: Hello, Oskar.

DR. BÖHM: Well…

We called your mother, but she didn’t answer.

Want some candy?

OSKAR: She slept in and didn’t want to talk.

Could you call her from your cell?

What do I say?

That we’d like to talk to her.


Hi, Mom, I’m with Dr. Böhm’s. She wants to talk to you.

KUHN: Tell Dr. Böhm…




[IN GERMAN] Yes, Mom. Bye.

So what did she say?

That she… She doesn’t want to talk to you.



That you should stay out of it.

What did my mom do wrong?

You’d better have your mother tell you.

No, why? Just tell me.

Okay, you’re old enough, and you’ll hear about it anyway.

Your mom won’t be working here for now.

I say “for now” because we need to find out what happened.

Uhhuh. So what happened?

Well, like I said, we need to find out.

I want to know now.

Oskar, I can’t tell you more right now.

Is it related to the stealing?

Why do you ask? We weren’t discussing the stealing.

You won’t tell me stuff and say that my mom won’t be working.

It wasn’t her.

DR. BÖHM: Nobody said it was her.

Nobody is accusing your mom.

But tell her we need to talk.

Oskar, let’s step outside. Hmm?




That was unnecessary.

Yes, it was.

I thought we’d tone it down.

You mentioned “phrasing” and “wording.”

Firstly, I didn’t say anything he didn’t already know.

Secondly, it was you who brought him here.

But not to make insinuations. That’s what we wanted to avoid.

Do yourself a favor and trust more in my experience.

Experience… The boy is confused, can’t you see that?

The boy knows what’s going on. He knows what’s what.

We’re the ones who are confused.


CARLA: The children are great. They’re friendly.

They help each other.

All in all, it’s a very cooperative class.

There’s room for improvement.


MAN: All right, bye then.

CARLA: Hello.


Mr. Nauhaus, Tom’s father.

Yes, have a seat.



I was just relating a few of my impressions,

stressing the importance of students working independently.


Information about the trip.

I wrote an email.

Thank you.

Jieun said the math test didn’t have a good result?

CARLA: That’s sadly true.

Perhaps not just the kids’ failure.

I wouldn’t make that judgment. Failure is too harsh a word.

NAUHAUS: To be honest,

the questions were all Greek to me.


It’s like a black box.

Those questions aren’t meant for 12yearolds, are they?

It is sixthgrade material. I stick with the curriculum.

Ms. Nowak, I’d like to raise another issue.

CARLA: Yes, please.

Jenny said there was an interrogation, and…

she was coerced into divulging information on her classmates.

I don’t know if everyone knows.

We talked about it in the parents’ WhatsApp chat.

Maybe you could tell us a bit more about that?

Well, nobody was coerced.

We wanted to talk with the class representatives

and asked them to help us with this issue.

It seems like you coerced the kids…

inciting them to denounce others.

Ms. Haubrichs, again, you’ve chosen fairly harsh words.

We asked the kids for help.

Asking them to snitch on classmates

and stay quiet about it.

You’re exerting immense psychological pressure on them.

It was meant to allow the kids to talk freely, in a safe space.

We can talk in private about this issue after our meeting.


It concerns us all. I don’t get it.

Come in.

MS. HAUBRICHS: It’s better if we all hear it…

Ms. Kuhn.

Carry on.

Uh, okay…


Where were we?

What happened to Ali? I haven’t heard.

There was a course of action I didn’t approve of,

but I can assure you that

we have a handle on the problems.

MRS. YILMAZ: How do you mean “a handle”?

As I said, let’s discuss it privately.

So why don’t you tell the rest of the story?

MRS. YILMAZ: What “rest”?


The parents have a right to know what really happened.

This isn’t the right time.

The parents have a right to know that their kids’ teacher

will be in court.

Ms. Kuhn, this is highly inappropriate.


Want to know what happened?

Of course we all want to know.

This woman made secret video recordings at school.

PARENT: What? Of whom?

KUHN: Of faculty members. Just imagine!

Spying! Denunciation!

Slander! Character assassination!

You name it.

Entire lives are being ruined because of her presumptions.

I wouldn’t believe a word she says.

Shame on you.

Yes, shame on you.




WOMAN: Ms. Nowak, what’s going on?





VERA: It was considered a bad omen,

that it was divine retribution.

But along came Thales of Miletus.

Thales was a mathematician.

He knew that a solar eclipse occurs

when the moon passes between the sun and Earth.


There are partial,

annular, and full solar eclipses.

By way of mathematical calculations,

Thales could predict

when the next solar eclipse would occur.

The unpredictable became predictable.

Thank you. Over and out.


Thank you, you may sit down.

STUDENT: That was great.

How did unpredictable becoming predictable affect people?


So people stopped believing in God?

CARLA: Thanks, Lukas.

You can pick up your phone later.

Stopped believing in God, you have a point.

With a new critical spirit,

Thales heralded the start of modern astronomy.

You’ve heard of astronomy?

LUISE: You mean zodiac signs?

That’s astrology, which is different.

Who knows what astronomy means?

Some kind of star science?

CARLA: Exactly.

Astronomy is the science of celestial bodies.

People stopped explaining phenomena with God or the like,

instead they searched for universally verifiable truths.

It’s the basis of modern science.

Yes, Lukas.

Could you please put my cell in your bag so no one can steal it?

Don’t worry, your cell is safe in this class.

LUKAS: I wouldn’t be so sure.

Okay, can you explain this?

ALI: He means me, I didn’t do it.

CARLA: Correct. Ali was cleared in our conversation.

Not Ali. We learned in biology that traits are hereditary.

STUDENTS: Shut up, Lukas!

Okay, I don’t get it. Could you explain?

For example, from mother to son.

If the mother is fat, her child will be fat, too.


STUDENT 1: Shut up!

STUDENT 2: Shut up.

CARLA: Lukas, it isn’t that…

It isn’t that easy. But you’re alluding to something else.

So can you explain who inherited what from whom?

It doesn’t matter anymore, right?

You don’t want to elaborate?

No, we were discussing…

STUDENT 3: Coward!

LUKAS: We are on another matter.

STUDENT 4: Now he’s shutting up.

CARLA: That was a bold hypothesis.

Next time, think before you speak.

STUDENT 5: I agree. STUDENT 6: What a moron.

WOMAN: Hello?

Hello, is this Ms. Wizorek?


This is Carla Nowak, Lukas’ teacher.

Do you have a minute?

I’m on my break, but it’s good that you called.

Can you explain what happened last night?


CARLA: Sorry you couldn’t make it.

The parents’ chat says you’re not in control.

You don’t want to know what they wrote.

I’m actually calling to talk about Lukas.

Maybe you know,

but we parents will talk to school leadership.

I see. We should then also talk about Lukas’ behavior in class.

What about his behavior?


One second.

Oskar, you’re not allowed to be here.

Hello, Ms. Nowak?


You can sit here.

Why is everybody so sure?

Nobody is sure, Oskar. It’s all being looked into.

Then why doesn’t my mother go to work?

She’s on vacation, officially.

Do you have proof?

Of what?

For your allegations.

There are credible clues we can’t tell you about, Oskar.

What kind of clues?

We can’t tell you, Oskar.

Could I talk to Ms. Nowak alone?


Okay, I’ll wait outside.

What’s this?

63 euros and 45 cents.

My savings. You can have it.

Did your mom tell you to give me that?


It’s not the money.

What is it then?

Theft is the issue.

Irrelevant if it’s one cent or 100 euros. It’s about honesty.

Come on, take your money.


My mom didn’t do it.

All right, I understand.

It’s one thing to understand, but you need to say it.

[SIGHS] To say what?

I want you to say it.

But what?

That she’s innocent.

Your mom is innocent, Oskar. Satisfied?

Publicly. You have to apologize to her and set it right again.

Sorry, but I won’t.

Yes, you will, or else…

Or else what?

You’ll regret it.

Are you threatening me?


Okay, I’ll ignore your remark.

Apologize to her!

You will apologize in public or you’ll suffer the consequences.



Carla, hi.

Want some cake?

Are you celebrating?

It’s my birthday.

Happy birthday. Having a party?

Too much work.

Copy handouts and the room for parent council…

Can I be of help?

No worries, it’ll be all right.

Say, the other day was quite a spectacle, wasn’t it?

What was?

Parents’ evening.

I don’t want to talk about it.

All right, but you can confide in me.

Happy birthday.

Tasty, yes?

You were saying?

VANESSA: Ms. Kuhn.

THOMAS: Apropos Ms. Kuhn,

I’ve decided to take legal steps against her.

And I heard there’s a video?

Just because she stole from me, doesn’t mean she stole from you.

Someone else could’ve done it.

VANESSA: That’s true.

THOMAS: Did you take a video or not?


And can we see it?

[CLICKS TONGUE] Not for now, no.

[CHUCKLES] Stupid question, but, why not?

It’s for the police. I can’t show it around.

THOMAS: “Show it around”?

You see, I’m one of the victims.

I was robbed, too. Several times.

And you’re refusing to help me?

These are two different events.

VANESSA: Carla, to be honest I feel rather uncomfortable

knowing a secret video of us was made.

Who is in the video?

You have my word, you’re not in it, Vanessa.

VANESSA: [SIGHS] But I don’t approve.

Got it.

VANESSA: Mmmhmm.

THOMAS: Is there cake left? VANESSA: Yeah, have at it.

I can understand this is a bit much for you, Ms. Nowak.

Maybe you can’t cope.

I can. It’s all good.

THOMAS: Maybe we should better proceed

against Ms. Kuhn together.

Poor woman is losing her job.

“The poor woman”? Seriously?

It’s no laughing matter.

I appreciate your feelings for Ms. Kuhn, but you also owe us.

Exactly. Which is why I can’t help you right now.


THOMAS: Unbelievable.

May I remind you, Mr. Liebenwerda,

that it was you who wanted to hire a private detective.

That was a joke.

And there’s a difference, Carla.

A detective would’ve been known. You went behind our backs.

Sorry to interrupt,

but students are outside for you.

BOTH: Hello, Ms. Nowak!

Hi, guys. What can I do for you?

You agreed to an interview for the school paper.

Our appointment was next Tuesday.

We have to go to print earlier.

Our room isn’t available next week.



MARKUS: It’ll only take 15 minutes.


Want some cake?

Let’s go.


HATICE: Here is Paul, Daniel, Bine, Krissi,

Mitra, Flo, and don’t worry about the rest.

KRISSI: Thanks for participating. Hi.

Of course.

PAUL: Please have a seat.

CARLA: Okay, what do you want to know?

PAUL: Do you mind if we record it?

That’ll make it easier for us.

Uh, sure, okay.

You’ve been at our school since the start of the semester.

How do you like it here?

I like it.

All the students are really nice.

Colleagues are great, despite some differences in opinion…

I was warmly welcomed at this school.

What are differences in opinion?

What happens in the teachers’ lounge is private.

MARKUS: Okay, next question.

Isn’t Nowak a Polish name?

Yes, but I was born in Westphalia.

My parents came here from a town near Danzig in the late ’80s.

Do you speak Polish?

[IN POLISH] Curiosity killed the cat.

HATICE: [IN GERMAN] What does that mean?

You’ll have to research it.

MARKUS: Okay, um…

Do you have tattoos? And if so, where?


I always wanted tattoos, but never dared.


Any advice for your younger self?

How should I put this without sounding precocious?

Insecurity when you’re young is normal, everyone feels that way.

I wish someone would’ve told me it’d all be fine.

That everything is fine and I can trust my gut, my intuition.

KRISSI: I’d like to butt in.

At the beginning, you said you like it here.

My gut feeling begs to differ.

I think there’s currently a bad vibe at our school.

What do you mean?

It isn’t a secret that there’s a thief here.

Can you tell us why we students were suspected?

The allegations were clearly false.

You’re right, it wasn’t right, but something had to be done,

also to protect those who had nothing to do with it.

I’m sorry the wrong people were suspected.

That doesn’t answer my question. Again, why were we suspected?

There were leads, but they weren’t conclusive.

It wasn’t ideal.

Is it true that Ms. Kuhn can’t return to her job of 14 years?

MITRA: Wasn’t it 15 years? KRISSI: No, 14.

Uh, that’s the school board’s decision.

So Ms. Kuhn was suspended for theft?

Um, I’m not in a position to comment.

Was there secret video surveillance?

CARLA: No comment.

You don’t want to?

You’re not allowed to.

I am allowed, but I don’t think it’s right for all concerned.

Doesn’t it concern us, too?

Of course. It sure does.


If there are no more questions…

Is Oskar Kuhn going to change schools?

Where did you hear that? Seriously, who said that?

The grapevine.

Surely you’ll understand we need to protect our sources.

CARLA: Your sources?

Guys, stop spreading rumors. That’s unprofessional.

We want to know what’s going on here.

That’d be all. Any more questions?


Thanks, Ms. Nowak.

KRISSI: Thank you very much.

Can I read it in advance?



Once we’ve written it.


PAUL: Oh, and…

Wait, I need a picture. Can I take one?

Thank you.

WOMAN: Hey, Carla.




Good morning.

Well, then. At least it’s quiet.

Let’s check your homework. Who wants to begin?

You wanted to say something?

Not anymore.

CARLA: If no one volunteers, I’ll have to ask you one by one.

Jieun, did you do your homework?


Okay, Hatice, how about you?

Well, then I’ll sit down and we’ll ignore each other.


What’s going on?

Do you want to expel Oskar?

Jenny, I don’t know where you heard that rumor,

but surely Oskar is the one to ask.

Would you like to comment, Oskar?

Apparently not.

Let’s proceed with homework.

We won’t do it until you tell us what did and will happen.

If you want to discuss an issue, bring it to the class council.

Now I’m teaching.

JENNY: We have a right to know.

STUDENTS: Exactly.

No one apologized to me yet.

CARLA: Ali, that’s not true.

I apologized and so did Dr. Böhm.

In her office, remember?

What about the video?

There is no video, my God!


Now be quiet and hand me your homework.

Give it to me.


Why start at the back?

Come on.


Lukas, give it to me.

Where’s your homework?

Because of him.

Just do your homework.

CARLA: I said quiet!


Who will solve the task at the board?

STUDENT 1: Nobody.

STUDENT 2: Exactly. STUDENT 3: Nobody.

CARLA: Tom, very good.


Don’t go to the front.


JIEUN: Traitor.

CARLA: Who said that?

Who said “traitor?”

I did.

That’s not okay, Jieun.

We should practice solidarity.

STUDENT: Exactly.

Your grades permit you to. If I don’t do this, I’ll flunk.

You’re a traitor.

CARLA: Jieun?

Use that word again and you’re leaving the room.

All this crap is just because of him.

Leave Oskar alone and continue the task.

Because of his criminal mom.


Because of his criminal mom.


I’m the only one participating.

Go, now!



MARKUS: By the way, Ms. Nowak,

we do that dumbass welcoming procedure only for you.


That’s right.

STUDENT 1: It’s stupid,

it should just be for firstgraders.


STUDENT 2: Do you know how embarrassing that is?



Okay, guys, I already told you,

the past days and weeks were unacceptable.

Something has to change.

Do any of you understand what I mean?


Aren’t we doing sports today?

We’ll only do sports once we’ve discussed some issues.


There’s class council for that kind of stuff.

CARLA: We need to change the way we treat each other.

To which end we’ll do some exercises today.

I need six volunteers for the first exercise.

Who’s up for it?

One, two, three, four, five, six.


Stand up, please.

For the first exercise, um,

you all step on this box.

No one can fall.

Give it a try.



Okay, those still seated,

do you have any suggestions on how to do it better?


Maybe hold on to each other’s shoulders?

Try it.


Is there maybe another solution?

Oskar? I’m sure you have an idea.



We need to take each other by the hand.

CARLA: Okay.

Would you show us how you’d go about it?

Switch places with Lukas.

Thanks, Lukas.

LUKAS: Have fun, nerd.



CARLA: Okay, looks promising.

Now the other four as well.


Great, you found the solution.

Oskar, hey!



CARLA: Let go of each other!

Tom! Tom!

Stop it!

Calm down!

Oskar, Oskar.

Come on, prick!

Oskar, listen to me.

Outside, Oskar!

Come on!

Out you go!

Come back when you’ve calmed down.

LORE: Calm down a little, okay?


CARLA: That’s just what I was referring to.


STUDENT 1: Ms. Nowak? STUDENT 2: What was that?


Are you crazy? [GRUNTS]




Oskar, stop!


Oskar, stop!

Give me the laptop.




LORE: Oskar’s mother issues

have caused psychological pressure.

Even if he’s supported by part of his class, others harass him.

This leads to turmoil in class and their refusal to work.

The student’s anger is evidenced by increasing violence,

which manifests itself physically.

My recommendation for now would be a change of classes.

In case the situation doesn’t improve for the student,

a change of schools might be appropriate.

A change that the mother would have to agree to.

Thank you. Ms. Nowak, as the teacher,

the floor is yours.

Sending him to another school is not the right solution.

DR. BÖHM: Fine, but a change of classes

will still leave us with someone

who incites insubordination, and beats up classmates,

and who smashes windows to steal laptops.

He didn’t mean to steal.


He wants to protect his mother.

Well, if you say so,

but that doesn’t undo everything.

You know we have a zero

CARLA: Tolerance policy.

I’m aware of that, Dr. Böhm.

But this is between Oskar and me.

He clearly holds me responsible for his mother’s work ban.

It would be a mistake to socially isolate this student.

We’d be punishing him for his mother’s possible misstep.

Just to be clear, this is only about Oskar’s behavior.

It’s not about his mom.

But we’re only taking one point of view.

What can we do with him to solve the problem?

The consequences are borne out by others. That can’t be.

JENNY: I agree.

DR. BÖHM: Sorry?

Consequences are borne out by others, mostly by us students.



So what do you recommend?

I’m also responsible,

it shouldn’t be him who has to go.


But me.

Ms. Nowak, we’re already understaffed.

We have too many substitutes.

Then we may as well shut down the school.

DR. BÖHM: It’s out of the question.

So we’ve heard Ms. Semnik’s evaluation.

And Ms. Nowak’s…

We decide over the student’s head, pushing the problem away.

[CHUCKLES] We’re not pushing it away.

We’re looking for a solution by voting democratically.

Oskar and his mother are unrepentant regarding this.

They had the chance to speak here and now.

But they refused each and every communication.

If there are no questions,

let’s vote.

Sorry, I do have a question.

DR. BÖHM: Please.

Ms. Nowak, what happened to your eye?

I already said I fell.

VANESSA: Pardon?

I fell.

Not that hard to understand.

It’s admirable how you protect the boy.

Thomas, is this relevant? Could we please…

I just want to make sure that the boy doesn’t hit teachers.

Be assured, Mr. Liebenwerda, Oskar hits nobody.

MILOSZ: Well, I suggest

we vote, okay?


Any objections to an open vote?

I’d prefer anonymous.

DR. BÖHM: Fine, Ms. König prefers anonymity.

Then we’ll now vote on

a suspension for Oskar Kuhn for ten days

and if he can go on the school trip to England.

If the situation doesn’t improve after our vote,

we’ll need to convene again

and consider tougher measures, possibly a change of schools.

Please hand me your votes.

Have a nice evening. Bye.

See you.


It’s crooked. On the left.


Look, there’s Ms. Nowak.

Selling already?

{\an8}No, on Monday, but we’re preparing for it.

{\an8}Would you like a copy? Two euros.

{\an8}Two Euros? Isn’t that a lot for a school newspaper?

BOY: Well, we have expenses… printing, research…

Equipment, milk and coffee aren’t free.

I asked you to send me the article?

Uh, didn’t Krissi?

I didn’t receive it.

BOY: Well, then here’s a prerelease issue, for free.

Are you serious?

We wrote what you didn’t say.

BOY: What are you doing? MARKUS: You can’t just…


You must take out the pages.


You twisted and decontextualized things.

It’s a matter between Ms. Kuhn and me.

MITRA: Your opinion.

We see it differently.

It’s called journalism.

It’s not journalism. I asked to check it.

KRISSI: We won’t be censored for you to save face.

We agreed. It’s not about that.


Censorship isn’t the issue, facts are.

Which you withheld. We shed light on the flip side.

You talked to Ms. Kuhn?

KRISSI: We sure did.



You overshot the mark.

This text is unreliable.

The damage you’re doing.

We serve truth.

It’s your problem if you can’t take it.

See that?


MITRA: Everything else is PR.



LORE: Do you want to talk?

Would you hug me?


BOY: Hello, Ms. Nowak!

School paper while supplies last!

Come here to read it first!

Come over, guys. One euro for you!

Grab it while it lasts!

Teachers have to pay more, but for you it’s cheaper.

Why didn’t she come to us for help?

Where’s her team spirit?

THOMAS: Morning, Ms. Nowak.


THOMAS: I sometimes wonder what you’re thinking.



“Ideally, school is a safe space.

“Not so at our school.

“After some thefts, students were faced with measures

“otherwise found in rogue regimes.

“Ali Yılmaz was taken from class and wrongly accused.

“Teachers were Milosz Dudek and Thomas Liebenwerda.” That’s me.

Mmm. No need to read it aloud, but thanks anyway.

VANESSA: I’d like to hear it.

THOMAS: “To suspect a child of migrants

“without proof in that manner

“exposes the structural racism in our school.

“But that’s not all. With no evidence,

“the school’s kind soul Ms. Kuhn got suspended from work.

“The method used was a hidden camera.”

So there it is.

“Ms. Nowak couldn’t deny our suspicion of surveillance.”

“Could not deny”!

“We spoke to the victim.

“Ms. Kuhn confirmed it.” And so on.

How is it that you keep refusing to cooperate with us,

but discuss the video with attentionseeking pubescents?

Listen, Mr. Liebenwerda, I prefer discussing issues.

If you’ve read it, it’d be clear I did not discuss the video.

You didn’t deny it, either.

I know how to read. Unbelievable.

You’re something.


You want to impress…


…the students at any cost…

We get it.

That we…

have to bear the consequences.

You know how many parents are contacting us?

Vanessa received 25 emails.

May I have your attention? Come over here. Quiet, please.

You, too, Mr. Liebenwerda.

You will all be aware

that the school paper contains an unfortunate article.

I’ve spoken with Mr. Dudek and the school’s legal department.

We have to ban the sale of this issue on campus.

We will close down the stand and ask you to stop distribution.

And the online version?

IT took it down from the school’s website.

Peace at our school is massively under fire,

which is why I ask you to stop discussing this issue.

No discussion, applies to everybody.

We’ll talk to you later with staff council.

So we’re forbidden to speak?

LORE: Stop. Is it so hard to get?

It’s a framework we can work with.

THOMAS: I didn’t give the interview.

Hey, everybody!


We’re only briefly asking you to keep still.

We need a united front, even if we disagree at times.

I won’t let anyone call me a racist.

Calm down.

Not even you.

That’s beside the point.


Let’s take care of our students and carry out our work.

All right, back to work.

Let’s pass them somehow and have them show us up.

Stop it with your cynicism! Keep it to yourself, won’t you?

THOMAS: I won’t be called a racist.

I got that. You’d better leave.

Ignoring problems won’t make them disappear.

LORE: Just leave.

Deep breaths, everyone.

Well done, Carla. Just saying.

[IN POLISH] You should’ve said something.



What do I mean? The interview!

It was Oskar.

MILOSZ: Forget about the boy.

Seems to be the most important skill for our job.

Thanks for the advice.

It’s the other students.

You’re responsible for them, too.


Okay, everyone, sorry for the delay.

May I ask you all to stand up for a moment?

I want… Get up!

I want us all to scream as loud as we can.

Ready, steady, go.


Again. Don’t hold back, everyone, go!



Louder. Keep going!




Before we start, some clarification.

You know what happened in the gym the other day.

Oskar will be suspended for 10 days.

He can’t go on our school trip, either.


the school paper caused upset amongst the teachers.

School management thus banned its circulation on campus.

JENNY: That’s censorship!

Jenny, I agree it’s a shocking measure.

Well, I surely won’t hide my copy.

In principle, I admire how you all

organize the paper and declare your solidarity,

though I find the text highly questionable.


Sorry, it wasn’t against you.

Thank you, Hatice.

So, put the papers away.


CARLA: Oskar, what are you doing?

Your mother received a letter.


What letter?

I just told you.

LUKAS: I’m Oskar on a killing spree.


Lukas, sit down! Now!

STUDENT 1: A round of applause for Oskar!



Let’s step outside for a chat.

Come on, Oskar.

It’s not allowed.

You can’t be here right now.

STUDENT 2: Go home!


Vera, look after Oskar.


MILOSZ: …how to continue.

Of course, we’ll talk. I’m not stupid.


THOMAS: I’m just trying to find a solution.


Mr. Liebenwerda,

may I ask for your help?

Thank you.


Hey, everyone, we’re gonna move.

Listen, pack your stuff.

We’re going next door, and Mr. Liebenwerda stays here.

TOM: Why do we have to move?

No back talk, let’s go.

Come on, no back talk. Do as Ms. Nowak says.

Hey, Oskar.


CARLA: Please, turn to…



And look at exercise 13,

sections A to F.

I’ll be back in a moment.




Hello, Ms. Kuhn. It’s Carla Nowak.

You have some nerve, calling me.

It’s about Oskar. Did you not get the letter?

I did.

You think you can do that to us?

There’s no point using him for a matter between us two.

Who’s using whom?

Expelling Oskar solves the problem?

I intervened on his behalf.

Congrats, that worked great.

You didn’t even attend.

Now it’s my fault?

That’s beside the point.

Back to class, please.

But we need to pee.

Then hurry.

Face it that you’re responsible.

How about an apology?

Please come pick up your son.

If Oskar wants to come home, he can.

We told him to leave, but he won’t listen.

You can’t even do that.

Your failure as a teacher isn’t my problem, Ms. Nowak.

He is your son, Ms. Kuhn.

If we fail, it affects us both.

I can’t get through to him. No reaction.

Did you reach his mother?


He’s been expelled.

We could have him removed.

I’ll talk to him again first.

Try it.

DR. BÖHM: Pack your bag and go home.

Don’t make us call the police.

MILOSZ: Understand, Oskar?


CARLA: Oskar, will you look at me?

I wish it had all turned out differently.

I’m honestly sorry for what happened.

But if you don’t go home now, you’ll make things worse.


Colleagues, can we step outside?

I don’t know.


Ms. Nowak, what are you doing?


THOMAS: Are we leaving her alone now?








Won’t you answer that, Oskar?





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