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 ↑
An international human rights group has announced that Melissa Busekros, the 15-year-old German homeschool student taken by a SWAT team from her home and ordered into a psychiatric ward by a judge, for the first time in nearly a month will be able to meet with her parents.
The German court handling her case yesterday gave Melissa’s parents official visitation rights, “but she is still in foster care at an undisclosed location,” according to the report from the International Human Rights Group.
However, “her parents are allowed once-a-week visits with her, which must take place at a government building,” according to the update from Joel Thornton, the president of the IHRG.
He told WND earlier this week that he was in Germany to meet with the girl’s parents and legal counsel to help facilitate – if it’s possible – a resolution in her case.
Officials with the organization said that’s because of their concerns that what is established as a precedent in another nation could be cited by U.S. judges in their opinion-making process.
They warned that “what is happening in Germany today may be knocking on our door tomorrow.” The group is tracking the circumstances of about 40 families in Germany with court cases in various stages.
The case involving Melissa Busekros is being documented by Netzwerk-Bildungsfreifeit, a German organization that advocates for homeschoolers there even though the activity is banned in that nation.
Thornton told WND in a telephone interview from Germany that he is working with the family and their counsel in an attempt to resolve the abduction of the girl by a SWAT team of 15 officers from in front of her shocked family.
Homeschool supporters in Germany have told WND the girl had fallen behind in Latin and math studies, and was being tutored at home in the subjects. However, when school officials found out, they expelled her, then took the family to court when they began homeschooling.
The court order to take her into state custody, executed by police officers, said, “The relevant Youth Welfare Office is hereby instructed and authorized to bring the child, if necessary by force, to a hearing and may obtain police support for this purpose.”
Thornton said a five-hour court hearing had been held on Melissa’s status, but no decision was reached immediately because social workers refused to accept a compromise that the judge and Melissa’s parents had worked out.
“This is a precedent that’s going to affect not just Germany,” Thornton said. “This is an extreme case, even for Germany, but it won’t be extreme any more if they get away with it.”
“Our prayer is that we can work together to end this nightmare for this family,” Thornton said. “Please know that the International Human Rights Group is working with the family and attorneys to secure and protect the human rights of Melissa and her parents.”
The German homeschool support group said its worst fears were coming true. “Germany blatantly spurns parental and human rights and cannot be regarded any longer as a free country. It is running more and more to tyranny and dictatorship,” the group said in a statement.
Melissa’s father, Hubert Busekros, told the homeschool group the state was out of line with its “zealous drive to enforce compulsory schooling.” She initially was hospitalized in the Child Psychiatry Unit of a clinic in Nuremburg, but then moved without notice, officials with Netzwerk-Bildungsfreifeit said.
Then officials with the IHRG got to work on the case, and said they had assembled a list of German officials to contact on behalf of the teen. Among those are:
Local Court Erlangen
Tel. +49 9131-782 01
Fax +49 9131/782-361
(No Email address available)
Minister of Justice in Bavaria
Tel. +49 89 5597 1799
Fax +49 89 5597 3580
Officials in Germany have told WND historically the German phobia about homeschooling began with Adolph Hitler, whose design was to control the minds of children as they grew, leaving them with only his worldview.
“The ‘Jugendamt’ (youth welfare office) has its origin in the German Nazi state,” the German homeschool group said. “German Wikipedia writes about the Jugendamt: ‘In 1939 the Jugendamt [was] adopted … as a part of government in the NS-state control of child-education. The Jugendamt controlled and observed families and children politically from their birth.’”
A spokesman for the group told WND, “Today the Jugendamt … is free to take the children away from their parents when in their opinion the child’s welfare is jeopardized. A false accusation of neighbors is sometimes sufficient to capture the children from their parents.”
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