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Old June 17th, 2009 #21
Alex Linder
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U.N. protocol used to regulate homeschoolers

New Brit report: Authorities have 'right to access of the home'

Posted: June 16, 2009

By Bob Unruh

A British plan to allow local authorities "the right of access to the home" and "the right to speak with each child alone" in order to evaluate homeschooling families and make certain they do what the government wants is a warning about what could happen in the United States, according to the world's largest homeschool advocacy organization.

"On June 11, 2009, a report on home education in England by Graham Badman, a former Managing Director of Children, Families and Education in the County of Kent, was accepted in full by the British Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families," according to today's report from the Home School Legal Defense Association.

"The report makes the case that homeschooling should be extensively regulated in England," the HSLDA continued. "Aside from registering with the state and mandating reports by homeschoolers, the Badman report makes references to balancing the rights of parents with the rights of children. This idea is expressed in the UNCRC."

That is the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a document that the HSLDA has been warning about for a number of years already.

It has been adopted in the United Kingdom, and it is on its way toward approval in the United States, lacking mainly the approval of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate.

The document, however, grants dozens of "rights" to children, sometimes running roughshod over conflicting parental rights, the organization said.

For example, under the international document parents no longer would be allowed to administer reasonable spankings to their children, children would be granted the authority by the state to choose their own religion, the "best interest of the child" would govern all decisions and give the government the authority to override any parental decision, children would have a legally enforceable "right to leisure" and parents would be required to have their children attend state-sponsored sex education courts.

There is a ParentalRights.org website that notes if approved, the treaty would supersede "the laws of all 50 states on children and parents."

The HSLDA now is sending a very gentle "I told you so" message.

"Ever since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and opened to nations across the world for ratification in 1989, HSLDA has been deeply concerned about the implications of this treaty for U.S. homeschoolers, if the U.S. were to ratify the treaty," the organization said today. "We have consistently warned that this treaty could be the vehicle opponents of home education could use to effectively ban or severely regulate homeschooling."

If the U.S. Senate ever approves it, "the UNCRC will automatically supersede all state laws and U.S. judges will be obligated to follow the provisions of the treaty. Currently, family and education laws are state-based; however, ratification of the UNCRC would transfer the jurisdiction for making family and education law to the U.S. Congress. Congress would, in turn, be obligated to follow the U.N. mandates contained in the CRC," the HSLDA said.

UNCRC supporters have scoffed at such concerns, saying, "There is no language in the CRC that dictates the manner in which parents are to raise and instruct their children," the HSLDA said.

But now, with the adoption of the Badman report in Britain, "Sadly, HSLDA's position has been proven to be correct. Contrary to what proponents like the Children's Rights Campaign claim, UNCRC will be used to significantly restrict the freedom to homeschool in England."

According to the report now awaiting legislative action in Britain, Badman concludes, "I am not persuaded that under the current regulatory regime that there is a correct balance between the rights of parents and the rights of the child either to an appropriate education or to be safe from harm. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) gives children and young people over 40 substantive rights which include the right to express their views freely, the right to be heard in any legal or administrative matters that affect them and the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Article 12 makes clear the responsibility of signatories to give children a voice:

"'Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.'

"Yet under the current legislation and guidance, local authorities have no right of access to the child to determine or ascertain such views," the report finds.

Therefore, authorities not only must have access to homes and private interviews with children, they should, "secure the monitoring of the effectiveness of elective home education," Badman wrote.

"In short, the Badman report recommends that the state should have the authority to choose the curriculum for homeschoolers and he used Britain's treaty obligations under the UNCRC to justify this intrusion," the HSLDA report said.

"Remember, the Badman report has already been accepted by the British government. It is now only a question of time before the legislation is introduced and a vote occurs in the British Parliament. Not surprisingly, the estimated 80,000 British homeschooling families are outraged at the Badman report. The Badman report is a stark reminder of how government officials in an English-speaking democracy have interpreted the UNCRC. It's clear that the right to homeschool in America will be negatively impacted if the U.S. Senate ever ratifies the UNCRC," the HSLDA said.

Among Badman's recommendations:

* At the time of registration parents/carers/guardians must provide a clear statement of their educational approach, intent and desired/planned outcomes for the child over the following 12 months.

* That the government review the current statutory definition of what constitutes a "suitable" and "efficient" education.

* That all local authorities analyze the reasons why parents or carers chose elective home education and report those findings to the Children's Trust Board.

* Authorities should regard the move to home education as a trigger to conduct a review and satisfy themselves that the potentially changed complexity of education provided at home, still constitutes a suitable education.

Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, a college and a church and now a dedicated leader in the effort to change the U.S. Constitution through the amendment process to restore and protect parental rights, has told WND even U.S. courts in recent years have refused to acknowledge parental rights in many case.

http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?f...&pageId=101371
 
Old August 19th, 2009 #22
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[from Brussels Journal]

In Germany It Is Better to Be a Muslim than a Baptist

From the desk of Thomas Landen on Fri, 2009-08-14 09:52

The Federal Republic of Germany is a democracy. It is no fun, however, to be a Baptist in Germany. For the past two decades, the German authorities have been clamping down on Baptists who want to raise their children in accordance with their own religious principles. In Germany, the state rather than the parents is considered to be primarily responsible for the well-being of children. Hence, the draconic measures taken against Baptists. When, however, it comes to meeting the demands of Muslim the German state is far more lenient.

In 1938, Germany outlawed homeschooling. The ban is one of the few bills introduced by Adolf Hitler that is still on the books in Germany today. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, hundreds of ethnic German families from Southern Russia and Kazakhstan emigrated to Germany. Many of them were Baptists who had been fiercely persecuted in the Soviet Union for their religious beliefs.

Following their arrival in the West, the Baptists soon became unhappy with what their children were learning in the secular German public schools. They decided to homeschool their children. This move led to fierce repression by the German authorities who took the parents to court on charges of “Hochverrat und Volksverhetzung” (high treason and incitement of the people against the authorities). Some parents were imprisoned, some were robbed of their parental authority, some had their children taken away from them. Some children who sided with their parents, such as 16-year old Melissa Busekros in 2007, were placed in a psychiatric ward because, as the psychiatric evaluation report stated, she “considers herself healthy and her behavior fully normal” and, hence, needed “urgent help in a closed setting” where she would get “special education treatment to ensure schooling.” Some families, having fled from the Soviet Union at one time, fled again, from the Federal Republic of Germany to Austria, Britain, or other countries with a more lenient approach to homeschooling. Some parents, however, complied with ‘Hitler’s law’ and reluctantly sent their children to school.

Two years ago, a Baptist couple from Eastern Westphalia kept their two sons, then 9- and 8-years old, home from school on two specific days, namely when the school was going to take them to a sex-education theatre play called “Mein Körper gehört mir” (My Body Belongs to Me) and when the school was having a carnival party. The authorities immediately clamped down on the parents and took them to court. Following two convictions of the couple, the case made its way up to the Bundesverfassungsgericht, Germany’s Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, the highest court in the land, which last week also convicted them.

On 11 August, Germany’s Supreme Court ruled that “the religious conviction of a minority” is subordinated to “a contradictory tradition of a differently inclined majority,” even when the latter tradition is incompatible with the religious principles of the minority. The Court sentenced the parents to a fine of 80 euros because on two occasions they had violated their legal obligation to have their children attend school. The Court stated that the right of religious freedom of the parents does not take precedence over article 7, par. 1 of the German Constitution which explicitly states that “The entire education system is under the supervision of the state.” The Court declared that “Consequently, the paternal right to raise children is restricted, in a constitutionally permissible way, by the concretization of the state’s obligation to ensure a universal duty to compulsive school attendance.”

The relentlessness with which the German authorities consistently clamp down on Baptists who want to raise their children according to their own Christian beliefs, contrasts strongly with the leniency of the same authorities towards Muslims. While forcing 8-year olds to attend plays such as “My Body Belongs to Me” can only be considered a fairly recent “tradition” of the Germans, eating sausages and other types of pork definitely is an old German tradition. Nevertheless, in the past years, several public German schools have removed the traditional pork dishes from their menus. Last year the Käthe-Kollwitz-Schule in Minden announced that it was introducing halal food for everyone “to ensure that also Muslim children can have lunch at school.” Though the measure was clearly taken with regard to “the religious convictions of a minority” and went against the “contradictory tradition of a differently inclined majority,” the German authorities did not clamp down on the school, nor on the parents who had been demanding halal lunches for their kids.

While Baptist children are being forced to attend carnival parties at school, a 1993 German court ruling stated that “as long as separate sports classes for boys and girls are not being offered” Muslim girls do not have to participate in the obligatory sports sessions at school. The parents of the girls had explicitly invoked Koranic prescriptions to object to their daughters participating in the co-ed sports classes. Strangely enough, the German school authorities did not appeal the 1993 court ruling and failed to bring the case to the Supreme Court. Instead, they accepted the ruling, which has since become a legal precedent accepted by all school authorities.

Likewise, last May a court in Münster ruled that, though Muslim schoolgirls are obliged to participate in school swimming lessons, they are allowed to wear so-called “burqini” swimsuits that cover their entire body and hide their figures. Wearing the burqini has never been a “tradition” of the majority in Germany – a country with a long tradition of Freikörperkultur or nude sports activities. On the contrary, it is a practice which results from “the religious convictions of a minority” which is less indigenous to Germany than Christian Baptists. Nevertheless, the German school authorities have accepted the Munster ruling. They have not taken the case to the Supreme Court in order to have Muslim children forced to swim in regular swimsuits. Muslim children do not have to comply with the “contradictory tradition of a differently inclined majority” in the same way as Baptist children, whose parents are fined if they do not attend the school carnival.

The difference in treatment of the so-called fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims by the German secular school authorities and courts gives rise to the suspicion that in contemporary Europe some religious minorities are “more equal” than others. While Christians are prosecuted and fined, Muslims are appeased. It makes one wonder if the school authorities would also have prosecuted if, instead of the sons of a Baptist couple, the 8- and 9-years old daughters of a Muslim couple had been kept from school on the day of the sex-ed school play?

The answer to this question is probably “No.” Baptists are a peaceful minority, who want to be left alone and live according to their own values without trying to impose these values on others. Muslim fundamentalists are aggressive and demand that everyone live according to their values. Saying “No” to Baptist demands is not a security risk for a school; saying “No” to Muslim demands is. The German school authorities are well aware of this. Three years ago, the teachers of the Rütli-Hauptschule in the Berlin borough of Neukölln, asked the authorities to close down their school in order to protect them and the native German students who suffered threats and physical violence by Muslim students. Following the appeal of the staff at Rütli College several other schools in Berlin and other German cities complained that they were facing similar problems.

Meanwhile, despite the Baptists’ hatred of German schools, Baptist violence against German school authorities is a non-existing phenomenon. Perhaps this explains why Baptists are bullied, prosecuted and fined by the German authorities, while the same authorities grovel to Muslims with ludicrous demands such as burqini swimsuits. On the other hand, if anyone ever opposes Muslim thugs who want to impose Islamic law on others, it will more likely be the Baptists, who – non-violently but firmly – will defend their own values, than the representatives of the German secularist establishment.

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4052
 
Old October 7th, 2009 #23
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French police grab 4 kids on German orders
Homeschool family's children accused of 'being alone'

Posted: October 06, 2009

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Four children of a family that fled Germany to avoid further fines for homeschooling have been snatched from their home in France by police and accused of "being alone," according to a report today on the ongoing war against home education across the continent.

The word comes from the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has been involved in a long list of cases of persecution of homeschooling families across Europe, especially in Germany.

The report said two French social workers and two police officers appeared without notice at the home of Dominique Chanal in St. Leonard, France, where Dirk and Angela Wunderlich and their children have lived since July.

"The four officials told a stunned Mrs. Wunderlich that they had come at the request of German authorities and that they had to take the family's four young children because they were 'in grave danger,'" the HSLDA report confirmed.

"A copy of the report justifying immediate seizure of the children was obtained by HSLDA. The reasons given for the seizure were that the children were 'socially isolated, not in school and that there was a 'flight risk,' – none of which appear to be true," the report said.

The family fled Germany because of a series of fines imposed for homeschooling and the concern that German authorities inside Germany would take custody of the children.

After the children were seized by French authorities, the Wunderlichs contacted their lawyers in Germany, and they now are being represented by a local attorney in France.

Armin Eckermann, chief of a German group involved in defending homeschoolers, told the HSLDA that when he contacted Germany authorities, they denied asking French police to get involved.

The children were taken into custody Sept. 28, and it was three days before the parents were allowed to see them again.

"The social workers told us that the reason they took our children was because they 'have no contact with other children, that school education is guaranteed and that you are a risk of escape.' But this is nonsense, as anyone who knows our family can tell," the parents said in a statement.

Michael Donnelly, a staff attorney with the HSDLA who is familiar with a number of egregious persecution cases coming out of Germany, said the development is alarming.

"We are concerned about the increase in negative treatment of homeschoolers in Europe. This apparent trend is counter to all the evidence that shows that homeschooling is effective both academically and socially. Because homeschoolers in Europe are relatively few, it is important that homeschoolers in America encourage and support them," he said.

The HSLDA noted that another family, Uwe and Hannalore Romeike, now has a political asylum request pending in the U.S. because of the potential for persecution should they be forced to return to Germany.

Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman has scheduled a hearing on the case Dec. 16 in Memphis, Tenn.

The landlady for the Wunderlich family said she was shocked.

"This is a wonderful family," Chanal told HSLDA. "There are always children coming to the home to play with the children and my daughter. It is like a school in our house.

"These are very good parents who protect their children from dangers. They are better parents than most parents in France, because they do not let the children wander the streets or get involved in other bad behavior," she said.

"I believe that this was an illegal act by the German Youth Welfare Office. We are no longer residents of Germany," Dirk Wunderlich said. "As citizens of the European Union we have the right to free mobility, and we are complying [with] French education laws. The Germans should leave us alone."

Donnelly reported another family, still in Germany, has been assigned a new trial date of Nov. 16. Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek of Archfeldt, Germany, previously were sentenced to 90 days in prison for homeschooling their own children.

The penalty earlier was overturned on technical grounds, and they have been ordered to a new trial.

The HSLDA warned that the behavior of German authorities is a foreshadowing of what American parents should expect if the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child ever is ratified in the U.S. Its concerns are detailed at Parental Rights.

WND reported recently on a similar situation in Sweden in whichi authorities snatched a 7-year-old child from an airplane on which he and his parents were moving to India.

The HSLDA has dispatched a formal letter to a local Swedish social services unit involved in the case in which Dominic Johansson, of Gottland, was forcibly taken into custody minutes before he and his parents, Christer and Annie Johansson, were due to take off to start a new life in India, Annie's home country.

"This kind of gross disregard for family integrity and simple human decency is becoming the hallmark of countries like Germany, and now apparently Sweden," Donnelly said at the time, "where the state is more interested in coerced uniformity than in protecting fundamental human rights and fostering pluralism."

WND has reported on multiple cases of persecution of homeschooling families in Germany, including situations in which jail terms were ordered for parents of homeschooled children, a family sought political asylum because of the persecution, and a teen was taken into German state custody and ordered into a psychiatric ward for the crime of being homeschooled.

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=112106
 
Old November 26th, 2009 #24
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PROSECUTOR TO HOMESCHOOLERS: NO COMPROMISE—YOU’RE GOING TO JAIL!

Juergen and Rosemary Dudek of Archfeldt, Germany, were sentenced to 90 days in prison in July 2008 because they homeschool their children. Their sentence was overturned by an appeals court because of a legal error, and a new trial was ordered. Their new trial began November 16. German news reports indicate the judge appears disposed to seek a compromise. But prosecutor Herwig Mueller has vowed to appeal any sentence that does not include jail time for these parents, who have been in the spotlight for years because of their insistence on homeschooling. This was the same prosecutor who appealed the lower court sentence of only a fine, saying to the family, “You don’t have to worry about the fine because I will send you to jail.”

The new trial was continued to next week after more than seven hours of testimony. This included an outburst by Mr. Mueller when Mr. Dudek asked the local school officials if they knew the current laws that criminalize homeschoolers were based on laws from 1938. Mr. Mueller loudly protested: “All those Nazi laws have been suspended, and this one is democratic, and you’ve got to accept it, and that’s it.” Mr. Dudek disagrees. “The ‘schuhlpflicht’—the laws that require school attendance—are on the books in the German states,” he explained, “and have been traced back to the ‘Reichsculpflicht Gesetz’ [federal compulsory attendance laws] which was passed in 1938. Except for the removal of references to the Nazi party, these laws are identical or substantially the same as the laws passed by Hitler’s government, criminalizing parents who keep their children home for school.”


November 20, 2009

Prosecutor to Homeschoolers: No Compromise—You’re Going to Jail!

Juergen and Rosemary Dudek of Archfeldt, Germany, were sentenced to 90 days in prison in July 2008 because they homeschool their children. Their sentence was overturned by an appeals court because of a legal error, and a new trial was ordered. Their new trial began November 16. German news reports indicate the judge appears disposed to seek a compromise. But prosecutor Herwig Mueller has vowed to appeal any sentence that does not include jail time for these parents, who have been in the spotlight for years because of their insistence on homeschooling. This was the same prosecutor who appealed the lower court sentence of only a fine, saying to the family, “You don’t have to worry about the fine because I will send you to jail.”

Armin Eckermann, president of the homeschool organization, Schuzh, was present at the trial. He told HSLDA the judge was seeking a compromise.

“This judge said that he thought a jail sentence was too harsh for the Dudek family under this situation,” said Eckermann. “But the prosecutor took a hard line.”

The new trial was continued to next week after more than seven hours of testimony. This included an outburst by Mr. Mueller when Mr. Dudek asked the local school officials if they knew the current laws that criminalize homeschoolers were based on laws from 1938. Mr. Mueller loudly protested: “All those Nazi laws have been suspended, and this one is democratic, and you’ve got to accept it, and that’s it.”

Mr. Dudek disagrees.

“The ‘schuhlpflicht’—the laws that require school attendance—are on the books in the German states,” he explained, “and have been traced back to the ‘Reichsculpflicht Gesetz’ [federal compulsory attendance laws] which was passed in 1938. Except for the removal of references to the Nazi party, these laws are identical or substantially the same as the laws passed by Hitler’s government, criminalizing parents who keep their children home for school.”

The Dudeks feel that homeschooling their children is the right thing to do and are determined resist what they consider unjust laws barring them from home education.

“The judge gave me an opportunity to discuss my reasons for homeschooling, for which I am grateful,” said Mr. Dudek. “But he told us that the constitutional court has already ruled on the issue of whether homeschooling is allowed. However, our lawyers were able to show evidence that the state had not honored their commitment not to prosecute us while our application to become a private school was pending.”

The judge suggested that the original fine could be reimposed, but prosecutor Mueller was adamant. “If a fine is the result of this trial, another appeal from the sentence will be made,” he is reported to have said.

Nevertheless, the Dudeks felt that the judge was being fair.
“He was very interested in this new piece of evidence, that was not in his file, about our private school application,” Mr. Dudek said. “This is why he continued the trial—he wants to hear more evidence from the previous prosecutor, who offered to suspend prosecution while we sought approval as a private school. Mr. Schop, the former prosecutor, is scheduled to testify next week. He was a very decent man, and we hope his testimony will help our case.”

The Dudeks appreciate the many people who have supported them with encouragement and prayer.

“God has given us the strength to see us through this,” said Mr. Dudek. “We were grateful, and gave thanks at the end that there was still more to come with another day of testimony. We really feel like this is a case of David and Goliath. The state says—‘Oh, you homeschoolers you talk about God and faith—but there is no one there who is going to see it through. The constitutional court has already decided all of that.’ But we have to obey our God. Now, it is our turn—it is hard and uncertain, but we know we can not disappoint the Lord and all those who are praying for us. So we will keep on.”

Other German homeschoolers see evidence of state officials trying to “stamp them out.” The Neubronners of Bremen had sued the city school authorities for the right to homeschool. After being denied they took their case to court. The Federal Administrative Court in Germany refused to overturn a lower court’s decision that held “[t]he general public has a justified interest in counteracting not only religiously or philosophically oriented parallel societies, but also certain educationally oriented groups whose obvious intention is to undermine the general obligation to attend school…and to cut themselves off from society.”

HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly takes issue with the German court’s characterization of homeschooling as a “parallel society.”

“Homeschoolers are definitely a distinct social group but are not a ‘parallel society’ the way the German courts are trying to use the term,” Donnelly said. “The irony of German court decisions is their position that the state must teach ‘tolerance for diversity’ by forcing children into public schools and stamping out a diverse form of education recognized in all other Western democracies as a legitimate educational approach. Pluralism is supposed to stand for distinctive groups living peacefuly together.”

The Dangel family in Bavaria was recently told that if they do not comply with the demands of the local school that fines as high as 50,000 euros ($75,000) are allowed. The letter they received from the school authorities politely noted that “[w]e also point out that in case the fines cannot be paid, your imprisonment to enforce the law is permissible.”

The HSLDA-sponsored case for political asylum of Uwe Romeike and his family will be heard in Memphis, Tennessee, on December 16. Donnelly notes the importance of this case under the circumstances.

“We believe that the Romeikes qualify for asylum. By granting asylum on the basis homeschooling, we hope Germany gets the message that we have serious concerns about their treatment of these people whose only ‘crime’ is “homeschooling.”

More Information

Attorney Mike Donnelly will be tweeting about the Romeike trial @mchlpdnnlly.

http://www.hslda.org/hs/internationa.../200911200.asp
 
Old November 30th, 2009 #25
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Home-schooling parents may face criminal record checks

By Steve Doughty
Last updated at 2:14 AM on 30th November 2009

* Comments (145)

Parents who teach their own children at home must undergo criminal records checks, say Government education inspectors.

The estimated 40,000 parents who choose not to send their children to school should be vetted, says Ofsted.

It said that parents whose records throw up suspicions should be barred from teaching their own children.

Vetting to root out any record of violence against children would be by the Criminal Records Bureau.

It would reveal to local authorities parents’ criminal convictions, cautions and warnings, and even information that did not lead to a criminal conviction.

It would also show any unproven complaints noted by the controversial new Independent Safeguarding Authority, set up to vet adults working with other people’s children.

Parents who fail the checks could also find themselves receiving attention from child protection social workers.

If accepted by ministers, the Ofsted rules would be the first state attempt to investigate and vet ordinary parents over the way they bring up their own children.

The proposal brought fierce protests from family campaigners.

Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust said: ‘It is sheer madness for Ofsted to suggest that parents should be required to undergo CRB checks to be with their children between the hours of 9am and 3pm from Monday to Friday during term-time.

‘If it is deemed unsafe for children to be with their parents during normal school hours, it is equally unsafe for them to be with their parents in the evenings, at weekends and during the school holidays.

‘If Ofsted are calling for CRB checks for home-educating parents now, how long will it be before they are demanding that all parents are CRB-checked?’

Robert Whelan of the Civitas think-tank said: ‘You can no longer be a parent without a piece of paper from the state. This is a monstrous idea and it shows the danger of taking things to logical extremes.’

A Bill from Children’s Secretary Ed Balls already backs the idea of a home-schooling registration scheme where parents must set out a curriculum and allow town hall officials to inspect their homes.

But in a written report to MPs on the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee, Ofsted said: ‘Registration would not of itself prevent those who have a conviction for offences against children, including parents, step-parents or privately employed home tutors, from home educating children.

‘Criminal Records Bureau checks should be a requirement of registration.’

The right of parents to educate their children at home has been enshrined in law since 1944.

Parents have until now not had to register with councils or tell them what they are teaching.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#ixzz0YOO8VJHU
 
Old March 3rd, 2010 #26
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Judge Grants Asylum to German Home Schoolers

Quote:By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON

Published: February 28, 2010

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — On a quiet street in this little town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains lives a family of refugees who were granted asylum in the United States because they feared persecution in their home country.

The reason for that fear has rarely, if ever, been the basis of an asylum case. The parents, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, want to home-school their five children, ranging in age from 2 to 12, a practice illegal in their native land, Germany.

Among European countries, Germany is nearly alone in requiring, and enforcing, attendance of children at an officially recognized school. The school can be private or religious, but it must be a school. Exceptions can be made for health reasons but not for principled objections.

But the Romeikes, who are devout Christians, said they wanted their children to learn in a different environment. Mr. Romeike (pronounced ro-MY-kuh), 38, a soft-spoken piano teacher whose young children greet strangers at the front door with a startlingly grown-up politeness, said the unruly behavior of students that was allowed by many teachers had kept his children from learning. The stories in German readers, in which devils, witches and disobedient children are often portrayed as heroes, set bad examples, he said.

“I don’t expect the school to teach about the Bible,” he said, but “part of education should be character-building.”

In Germany, he said, home-schoolers are seen as “fundamentalist religious nuts who don’t want their children to get to know what is going on in the world, who want to protect them from everything.”

“In fact,” he said, sitting on his sofa as his three older children wrote in workbooks at the dining table, “I want my children to learn the truth and to learn about what’s going on in the world so that they can deal with it.”

The reasoning behind the German law, cited by officials and in court cases, is to foster social integration, ensure exposure to people from different backgrounds and prevent what some call “parallel societies.”

“We have had this legal basis ever since the state was founded,” said Thomas Hilsenbeck, a spokesman for the Ministry for Culture, Youth and Sport in the Romeikes’ state, Baden-Württemberg. “This is broadly accepted among the general public.”

The family has been here for some time, having left Germany in 2008. But it was not until Jan. 26 that a federal immigration judge in Memphis granted them political asylum, ruling that they had a reasonable fear of persecution for their beliefs if they returned.

In a harshly worded decision, the judge, Lawrence O. Burman, denounced the German policy, calling it “utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans,” and expressed shock at the heavy fines and other penalties the government has levied on home-schooling parents, including taking custody of their children.

Describing home-schoolers as a distinct group of people who have a “principled opposition to government policy,” he ruled that the Romeikes would face persecution both because of their religious beliefs and because they were “members of a particular social group,” two standards for granting asylum.

“It is definitely new,” said Prof. Philip G. Schrag, the director of Georgetown Law School’s asylum law program, who added that he had never heard of such a case. “What’s novel about the argument is the nature of the social group.”

But, he said, given the severity of the penalties that German home-schoolers potentially face, the judge’s decision “does not seem far outside the margin.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has appealed the decision, Mr. Romeike’s lawyer said Friday. A spokesman for the agency declined to comment, citing the litigation.

The Romeikes had never heard of home schooling when they set out to find an alternative to the local public school in Germany, where their two oldest children — now 11 and 12 — were having trouble with rowdy classmates. The nearby private and religious schools, Mr. Romeike said, were just as bad or even worse.

Then a woman in their church mentioned that some families, though none in the church itself, had taken their children out of school altogether.

“She knew a family, but she didn’t want to mention their name because it wasn’t legal,” Mr. Romeike said.

Months of research followed: the Romeikes read articles, sat in on court cases and talked to other home-schoolers in Germany. Eventually they decided to give it a try. Working with a curriculum from a private Christian correspondence school — one not recognized by the German government — they expected to be punished with moderate fines and otherwise left alone.

But they soon discovered differently, he said, facing fines eventually totaling over $11,000, threats that they would lose custody of their children and, one morning, a visit by the police, who took the children to school in a police van. Those were among the fines and potential penalties that Judge Burman said rose to the level of persecution.

Mr. Romeike began looking to other countries, but his inability to speak anything other than German or English limited his options. Then, at a conference for home-schoolers in 2007, he saw Mike Donnelly, a lawyer for the Home School Legal Defense Association, a Virginia-based advocacy organization

Long before the Romeikes had begun their fight, lawyers at the association had been discussing the situation in Germany. They had tried litigating cases one by one, usually unsuccessfully.

In 2006, after the European Court of Human Rights declined to hear a petition by home-schooling parents that had failed in German courts, lawyers at the association decided to add a political line of attack to the legal one, both to raise awareness of the German policies and to find some broader solution to the issue.

At a brainstorming session, one of the lawyers, Jim Mason, came up with the idea of petitioning for political asylum.

“I don’t know German law or German courts,” Mr. Mason said, “but I do know American courts.”

Another German home-schooling family had already moved to Morristown, so the Romeikes sold many of their belongings, including their grand piano, and came here too. The court battle lasted over a year, and while the Romeikes’ lawyers said they had expected to succeed, they were surprised by the vigor of the judge’s opinion. So was the German government.

“We’re all surprised because we consider the German educational system as very excellent,” said Lutz Hermann Görgens, the German consul general in Atlanta. He defended Germany’s policy on the grounds of fostering the ability “to peacefully interact with different values and different religions.”

Mr. Romeike said he would like to return to Germany if the laws became more amenable to home schooling. There is still hope, he said, though the political landscape does not look too promising right now.

In the meantime, he added, “it’s a good learning experience.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/us/01homeschool.html
 
Old April 6th, 2012 #27
Alex Linder
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So, Nu? Vhere's de ADL?
Posted by David Kramer on April 6, 2012 09:29 AM
The "progressive" government of Sweden is cracking down on homeschooling. In particular, a Jewish family is being threatened with thousands of dollars in fines for not sending their children to be indoctrinated in the public prison of the worker's paradise of Sweden.

A number of associations around the world have expressed their outrage at this "Soviet-style" (it is Sweden, after all) tyranny. This number includes: the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), Advocates International, the Network for Freedom in Education, the Nordic Committee for Human Rights, and the Christian Broadcasting Network (!!!).

Notice a "particular" organization missing from the list? Come on, bubbelehs, you can do it...you can do it...you can do it...

Did I hear you say "the ADL"? Correct!! Mazel Tov! This organization, which kvetches at the drop of a hat at ANY alleged harm or effrontery done to any Jewish person or persons on the planet, seems to be deafeningly silent on this issue. A search for "Sweden" on the ADL's website brings up nothing on this issue.

I "wonder" why this pro-big government organization is all of a sudden sha on the issue of home schooling? Perhaps because a search for the term "home schooling" on the ADL website brings up all but one article in which home schooling is disparaged as part of the far right-wing (aka anti-"Semitic") "hatred" against big government. (Big government—big because of the creation of the Federal Reserve which was created back in 1913, the same year as—I'm sure it's just another one of those amazing "coincidences"—the ADL was formed.)

So nu, ADL? Vhere are you? Vhere's your outrage at this tyranny against a Jewish family? This boychick is vaiting to hear from you...he's vaiting...he's vaiting...

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewr...es/109581.html

[lots of links in original]
 
Old February 16th, 2013 #28
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A family homeschooling safely in rural Tennessee may be forced to return to their native Germany, where the parents likely face huge fines and criminal penalties, and could lose custody of their five school-age children.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are looking to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to give them permanent refugee status. But Attorney General Eric Holder is disputing their case, arguing Germany’s ban on homeschooling fails to violate the family’s fundamental rights.

The Romeikes fled Germany in 2008 after authorities fined them thousands in euros and forcibly took their children because they homeschool. In 2010, a U.S. immigration judge granted the Romeikes political asylum—the first time this status was granted based on compulsory schooling laws. The judge found the family has legitimate fear of persecution in Germany, where a small group of Christian homeschooling families have already been jailed, fined, and stripped of their children.

http://blonde-on-a-mission.tumblr.co...ation-fight-in
 
Old August 9th, 2013 #29
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German homeschooling family closer to deportation

http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/08...o-deportation/
 
Old August 31st, 2013 #30
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Caveat: This is from the Daily Mail, who are known for never letting the facts spoil a good story.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...schooling.html
Quote:
Armed police turn up at family home with a battering ram to seize their children after they defy Germany's ban on home schooling

- Youngsters aged from seven to 14 taken from their home in Darmstadt
- Judge said to have authorised force 'against the children' if necessary


Armed police in Germany launched a terrifying raid on a family's home to seize their four children after they defied the country's ban on home schooling.

A team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed the home of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich because they refused to send their children to state schools.

The youngsters were taken to unknown locations after officials allegedly ominously promised the parents that they would not be seeing them again 'any time soon'.


Seized by the state: The Wunderlich family with Mike Farris, chairman of the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association. The children aged seven to 14 were taken away after their parents defied a ban on homeschooling

The only legal grounds for the removal of the children, aged from seven to 14, were the family's insistence on home schooling their children, with no other allegations of abuse or neglect.

According to court documents obtained and translated by the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), officials did not even allege that the parents had failed to provide an adequate education.

The raid took place on Thursday morning at 8am at the Wunderlichs' home near Darmstadt, 25 miles south of Frankfurt, in south-west Germany.

Citing the parents’ failure to cooperate 'with the authorities to send the children to school', the judge even authorised the use of force 'against the children' if necessary, according to court documents cited by the HSLDA.

Describing the moment police arrived at his home, Mr Wunderlich said: 'I looked through a window and saw many people, police, and special agents, all armed.

'They told me they wanted to come in to speak with me.

'I tried to ask questions, but within seconds, three police officers brought a battering ram and were about to break the door in, so I opened it.'

He went on: 'The police shoved me into a chair and wouldn’t let me even make a phone call at first.

'It was chaotic as they told me they had an order to take the children. At my slightest movement the agents would grab me, as if I were a terrorist.

'You would never expect anything like this to happen in our calm, peaceful village. It was like a scene out of a science fiction movie.

'Our neighbours and children have been traumatised by this invasion.'

The Wunderlichs have, over the past four years, moved from country to country in the European Union looking for a place to where they could freely homeschool their children.

Although they found refuge from homeschool persecution in France, Mr Wunderlich was unable to find work, and last year the family had to return to Germany.

Within days of the family registering their presence in Darmstadt, authorities initiated a criminal truancy case, and just months later city's 'Youth Welfare Office' was granted legal custody of the children.

They were allowed to remain with their parents after it was judged that they were being well treated, but authorities seized the youngsters' passports to stop them again leaving the country.

Mr Wunderlich said that he and his wife had been left devastated by the authorities' decision to take their children. He said that his 14-year-old daughter Machsejah had to be forcibly taken out of the home.

'When I went outside, our neighbour was crying as she watched. I turned around to see my daughter being escorted as if she were a criminal by two big policemen,' he said.

'They weren’t being nice at all. When my wife tried to give my daughter a kiss and a hug goodbye, one of the special agents roughly elbowed her out of the way and said — "It’s too late for that".

'What kind of government acts like this?'

Mrs Wunderlich said her heart was 'shattered'.

'We are empty. We need help. We are fighting, but we need help,' she said.

Mike Donnelly, HSLDA's director for international affairs, accused German authorities of acting in a way reminiscent of a 'darker time' in the country's history.

'My question to the political leadership of Germany is: How long will you permit these kinds of brutal acts to be perpetrated against German families?' he said.

'Why is it so important to you to force people into your state schools? The echo of this act rings from a darker time in German history.

'When will leaders stand up and make changes so that brutality to children like the Wunderlichs no longer happens because of homeschooling?

'Isn’t there any German statesman willing to stand up for what is right anywhere in Germany?'

No German officials were available to comment on the case.
 
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