One last post on homeschooling in least for now
Sometimes I just don't understand Germany. Some things make sense. The fact that homeschooling is illegal makes sense. The fact that there are an estimated 200 families homeschooling who are quite simply ignored by authorities makes sense. The difficulty the courts are having in cases such as with Andre and Frauke R. makes sense. After ordering the children to school and fining the parents, the children still did not appear in school. The main case against them was that they isolated their children and the state was trying to build a case against them to remove the children from the home. But that can only be done when the children are being severely physcially or mentally abused. And visits from social workers all confirmed that the children were fine and perfectly happy. Here is the problem, which to me seems like a very typical German reaction to such situations (my translation):
Since the children themselves are obviously not unhappy with the situation, the school administration now has the problem of finding a solution which does more to benefit the daughters than to harm them. Renewed imprisonment is deemed fruitless: "Our goal is not to arrest people, but to bring children to school," so speaker Luckow. A conceivable next step would be for the police to pick up the girls every morning and drop them off at class--a "mandatory escort." A higher court already warned of this possibility in March. "The negative attitudes regarding school attendance which probably already exist would only be strengthened by this," so the judge. "The children would feel themselves as victims of the state. They should have the possibility to voluntarily enter school."
Ironically, according to Spiegel's reporting, it appears as if an earlier judge did not particularly buy the argument that they homeschooled according to religious objections but believed them to homeschool primarily because the German schools were inferior, something he said they were all aware of. And the fact that they did not follow a specific plan, but appear instead to be unschoolers, objecting to formal lesson plans as "one of the biggest catastrophes of public education."

Homeschooling is illegal, along with a whole host of other activities. But Germany is also very lax to actually imprison people. Especially mothers. Certain drugs have been decriminalized in Germany...and there is authorization for the states to set up "drug rooms" where addicts can go to get high. Is homeschooling really that much more damaging to the individual and the community than heroine?

But a mother has been imprisoned...Katharina Plett, also one of the Paderborner Baptists, it appears. She will be released Saturday. Her sentence isn't really directly about homeschooling. It is for failing to pay the fines for not sending her children to school. This, and the reported force which the officers appeared to use, does not really make sense from what I remember of Germany. Images of Nazi Germany aside, that is not at all the impression I got of German officers and felt admittedly more comfortable around them than I do around American officers. At the close of the case against the seven Paderborner families, they requested the ability to open their own private school, an idea that was denied as it was viewed as a "front for homeschooling." Something the decidedly more marginal "Twelve Tribes" succeeded in. Five other families chose to enroll their children in the "Free Christian School" in Heidelberg and two fled to Austria where they homeschool according to Austrian law. It isn't exactly clear why the Pletts were in Germany, but it appears they have been living in Austria and the trip south was not exactly a "flight" from the law. They reportedly had to return on the 11th to continue with their schooling and because Mr. Plett had promised to help with construction on the Christian retreat where he (and possibly Andre and Frauke R. and their children) are staying. Mrs. Plett's bags were packed when police arrived.

Another man, Mr. Zins, reportedly also recently spent a 15 day sentence for not paying these fines and received yet another fine while imprisoned. This despite the Landrat Herr Mueller's statement after the agreement was made to send the children to the school in Heidleberg:
"Here our jurisdiction ends. Therefore we will close the case."
If the case is closed, why the fines? Or should they pay them? Most say they refuse for religious reasons. Thay say they are doing nothing wrong in homeschooling their children and hence should not be responsible for the fines. Can Christians decline to pay fines? Personally, I tend to say no. Actually, I tend to say that we can break any law that goes against God's law, however we must be ready to pay the consequences...whether that be fines, imprisonment or death.

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