Another German homeschooling family faces fines, probation
Unfortunately, homeschooling for "religious reasons" is not good enough for the German courts. This has been confirmed by the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights in Strassbourg. I fear that now that the state education authorities have the full blessing of both their own courts, the high court and an international court, we will see stiffer and swifter penalties against homeschoolers. I know these decisions are part of why HSLDA is so fervently pursuing a constitutional amendment to protect parental rights. I've never been a big fan of amendments, and parental rights seems inherent in our Constitution. Amending the Constitution seems to imply that we don't currently have that right. But at the same time, our courts seem to be increasingly straying from that view of the Constitution.

From, a Christian news source in Germany (my translation, italics refer to my insertions).

Rotenburg (idea)--A Christian from the East Hessian town of Bebra has been sentenced to four months probation because he didn't send his three school-aged children to school (of a total of seven children). Against the mother, the Inferior Court imposed a monetary fine of 800 Euro ($1,064). The married couple homeschools the children for religious reasons.

The family moved to Bebra six years ago. At that time, the youngest of the three affected children should have been enrolled in school. When the parents refused to send their son to a preschool exam, the education authority became aware of the family according to criminal judge Marc Schnitger. After the son was not enrolled, fines were imposed. The education authorities did not discover that two more children (now 12 and 11) "had never seen a school from the inside" until 2005. The education authorities then imposed more fines. Before the court, the father explained that a public school was not the suitable environment for the development of the children. He referred to the bible. Christian parents cannot share the upbringing of children with unbelievers. According to press reports, the mother has separated from the father in the meantime and went to a woman's shelter. A son who has become of schooling age in the meantime has been enrolled in elementary school. The judgment is not yet legally binding. Both the prosecution and the father have asked for an appeal. Initiative Schulunterricht zu Hause (SchuzH) (German counterpart to HSLDA) reports that between 500 and 1,000 families instruct their children themselves. Until now, they received predominantly fines and Erzwingungshaftstrafen." (Translates as "enforcement or compulsion prison sentences." I need to double check, but I believe this refers to imprisoning a person who does not pay a fine in order to compel him to pay it or to substitute for not paying it.)

How likely do you think it is that such decisions would ever fall this way in the United States? The court rulings use language directly from the Convention on the Rights of the Child which we have signed, but have never ratified. On the other hand, homeschooling is legal and even protected in other EU nations. The Norwegian prime minister has even been quoted as saying, "Homeschooling is a human right." The best way around this, it seems to me, is to hold judges to their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution (they are impeachable, after all) and to not sign such all-encompassing treaties which interfere with our sovereignty.

Point of interest: Despite the press that these cases have been getting recently and the fines, arrests and loss of custody of children which face homeschoolers, the estimated number of homeschooling families appears to have doubled in a relatively short period of time. There are some other positive trends as well, and I will get to those in the near future.

And welcome to blogging, Judy. It looks like you have a great blog developing! I look forward to checking in on you regularly!

Related Tags: , , , , ,