Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
For parents who wish to teach their own children in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Germany today is not much better than it was under Nazi party control in the 1930s and 1940s, according to a man who lives there and is pleading for international help for his country.
“We are not far away from an intolerant dictatorship in our country,” the man wrote WND. “Parental rights are more and more abolished. If you do not the way the state wants, to so-called Jugendamt (youth welfare office) is quickly to check out if they can take away the custody of your children.”
He said for homeschoolers, the crackdown is getting so “draconian” they are fleeing to other countries, leaving homes and sometimes jobs behind, in order to protect their children from the anti-Christian teachings of the secular school system.
The man identifies himself as being part of the German homeschool support organization Netz-Bildung Freiheit (Net-Education Freedom). He contacted WND after the news website broke the story that a German government official had warned that families’ religious beliefs will have to be brought into alignment with required school attendance laws.
His name is being withheld by WND so that he is not targeted for speaking out, because he is pleading with those outside of Germany to launch a campaign to focus international attention on their actions.
“We hope that it will have an impact on the persons in responsibility that the international publicity is looking on them,” the homeschool leader wrote to WND. “Express your protest against the violation of parental rights and the right of the free choice of education.”
“The situation for families is depressing, all the lawsuits have been lost in the past, judges are not ready to acknowledge the conflict in conscience of the Christian homeschoolers,” he wrote. “Freedom of faith and conscience is a matter which is officially a basic right granted in the constitution, but practically it isn’t worth the paper it is written on.
“As long as you practice your faith in a church building you have no problems, but as soon as you act in accordance to your faith, for example, in the education of your children, the freedom ends rapidly,” he said.
He likened the situation to that of families under the Nazi regime, or “like in the former Soviet Union under the Communists.”
“For that reason many homeschool families have left the country and emigrated to Norway, Ireland, Canada, USA, Great Britain and others. The families who remained are in a desperate situation. So every help from America or other countries is welcomed and may help us.
“So my urgent appeal to you: Don’t forget us. [Tell people] the government harasses homeschooling parents who do the best for their children and who are in most of the cases Bible-believe Christians.”
“We have sent out information periodically on Germany. The situation, unfortunately, is not getting any better, and they need your prayers and support,” the organization said. “Most recently, a decision was handed down by the European Court of Human rights (which) … completely turned the European Union Constitution’s Article 14, the section on parent’s rights to control the education of their children, completely upside down.”
That decision will allow any nation in the EU, should it choose, to outlaw homeschooling. “Meanwhile, the German homeschoolers continue to be unmercifully persecuted. In our last report, we explained that there were approximately 40 families in court at one stage or the other. Families are fleeing regularly to other foreign countries in order to continue homeschooling…”
One lawyer who worked on the German case said what is “stunning” is the state’s aggression against homeschoolers, while it ignores “the hundred thousand students who do not go to school at all, where the parents do not even care about their children.”
Another homeschool family was ordered to have their children in school, even though a doctor provided a medical reason for one child to be at home, “so they have fled outside of Germany and are in the underground.”
The HSLDA said tax-deductible donations could be made to its Foundation to help those families.
The German homeschool father said public comments would be very helpful, and should be directed first to several state education administrators, because they are the ones in whom Germany has invested the power to make such decisions:
Mr. Steffen Flath, The Free State of Saxony, via e-mail at: Steffen.Flath@smk.sachsen.de or by mail at: Saechsisches Staatsministerium f?r Kultus, Carolaplatz 1, 01097 Dresden, Letter post: Postfach 100 910 01079 Dresden or via telephone at: +49 351-564-0.
Helmut Rau, Baden-W?rttemberg, via e-mail at: Helmut.Rau@km.kv.bwl.de or by mail at: Ministerium f?r Kultus, Jugend und Sport Schlossplatz 4 70173 Stuttgart or via telephone at: +49 711/279-2531.
Barbara Sommer, North Rhine-Westphalia, via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at: Ministerium f?r
Schule und Weiterbildung, des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, 40190 D?sseldorf or via telephone at: +49 211/5867-3535 or 3536.
“The Minister of Education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling and is not prepared to approve a corresponding pilot project,” said a government letter in response to a request for consideration for a family whose children were taken to school by police.
“You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers on the basis of paragraph 86 of the education law as a measure of the execution of authority. It is known to the ministry of education that primary school students can be particularly burdened by the related contradiction between the norms of the parent-house and that of the public school through such forced escorts.”
The government letter continued with a solution:
“In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement,” the government said.
U.S. homeschool leaders are very worried.
Michael Farris, cofounder of the HSLDA, has called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect the right of parents to educate their children at home, in light of what is developing in Europe, and the growing influence of international court conclusions in the U.S.
His concern is that if the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child were ratified by the Senate or adopted by the federal courts as enforceable international law, American homeschooling could be banned.