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 ↑
German authorities who sent 15 uniformed police officers to take custody of a 15-year-old girl who committed the crime of being homeschooled now have suggested a solution that, in their minds, would “resolve” the situation: the parents should give up custody of their other five children.
The situation involving Melissa Busekros has been in the headlines ever since the beginning of this month, when the officers arrived at her parents’ home with a court order allowing them to take her into custody, “if necessary by force.”
She had fallen behind in math and Latin, and was being tutored at home. When school officials in Germany, where homeschooling has been illegal since Adolph Hitler decided he wanted to control the educating of all children, discovered that fact, she was expelled. School officials then took her to court, obtaining a court order requiring she be committed to a psychiatric ward because of her “school phobia.”
She later was moved to a different hospital without her parents’ knowledge, and then put in foster care. She was permitted to make a telephone call to her parents, although she was not allowed to let them know where she was.
Then the court decided while none of those restrictions would be lifted, she would be allowed to meet for one hour a week with her parents, as long as the meeting took place in a government building.
Now the Home School Legal Defense Association, the nation’s largest homeschool organization with more than 80,000 member families, has confirmed in a news alert to members the German government’s offer to the family.
“Melissa’s father, Hubert Busekros, said he and his lawyer were offered a compromise this week that they could not accept,” the HSLDA said. “The authorities wanted the Busekros’s to give up custody of their other five children in order to resolve this situation. Hubert said the authorities are considering doing psychiatric exams on the other five children in order to implicate Hubert and his wife as unfit parents and thereby break up the family.”
The concern about the breakup of the family was fueled primarily by perceptions that if the family went through the psychiatric testing process, officials could attempt to use any results to justify their actions against the family.
Such actions, the homeschool organization said, are “an outrage.”
“There are approximately 40 other cases pending in Germany [against homeschoolers],” the HSLDA said. “Many homeschool families have fled to Austria or another nearby country where homeschooling is legal. The German government is persecuting these innocent families without mercy. The German Embassy has indicated they cannot allow ‘parallel cultures.’ Christian homeschooling is a ‘parallel culture’ that Germany does not want.”
Practical Homeschool Magazine noted one of the first acts by Hitler when he moved into power was to create the governmental Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools, and school-related issues.
In 1937, the dictator said, “The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”
“It is beyond belief that Germany is still enforcing a law that was written for one reason only – to be used by Hitler to control and indoctrinate German youth. It had no other redeeming value,” said Shoshona Bat-Zion on a homeschoolers’ blog.
American homeschoolers need to be worried, according to a WND report, because the ease with which similar restrictions on free choice could be imposed in the United States.
A Democrat Senate and a Democrat president could ratify U.N. treaties such as the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, or the European Convention on Human Rights, which is an offshoot of the U.S. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
That is the foundation being cited by the German government to ban homeschooling entirely, and to indoctrinate public and private school students into a sexualized, socialist society.
In the last several years, many homeschooling parents in Germany have been sentenced to prison for teaching their children in a Christian lifestyle.
Michael Farris, cofounder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, 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 such developments in Europe.
His concern is exactly that U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a plan already accepted as law by many nations around the globe.
A homeschool advocate in Germany who works with Netzwerk-Bildungsfreifeit, earlier wrote to WND that, “We are not far away from an intolerant dictatorship in our country. Parental rights are more and more abolished. If you do not educate the way the state wants, the so-called Jugendamt (youth welfare office) is quick to check out if they can take away the custody of your children.”
He is not being identified because of his position in Germany.
“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.
The HSLDA in the past has pleaded for help for the German homeschool community. It is now repeating that plea.
“Melissa has been moved – for a third time – to a foster home in the
country. The first foster family didn’t want Melissa anymore because
she did not ‘fit.’ According to Melissa, the family was apparently
bothered by her reading French and translating it into German,” the HSLDA said. “REQUESTED ACTION 1. Please continue to call or email the German Embassy and give them this message:
“Over 40 innocent homeschool families have been prosecuted, fined, and
in some instances, had their children removed to state custody. This
is an outrage. Many homeschool families are fleeing Germany to nearby
European countries where homeschooling is legal. The most incredible
violation of human rights is the Busekros family, whose child was put
into a psychiatric ward and then removed to an undisclosed location,
all for the crime of homeschooling. Germany will not long be known as
a free nation if it suppresses the right to choose homeschooling.”
The HSDLA said the German Embassy can be reached at:
Dr. Klaus Scharioth
Ambassador, German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
And the group said the Minister of Justice in Bavaria can be given the same message:
Tel. +49 89 5597 1799
And his e-mail is: email@example.com
The group said letters to Melissa and her family can be sent to the following address: (Her parents have said they will try to get the letters and cards to Melissa): Schallershofer Strasse 72, 91056 Erlangen, Deutschland.
Members of the German homeschool community have taken their battle for the right to teach their children Christian basics to the Human Rights Court for the European Union, which ruled that they did not have any right to stop the state from indoctrinating their children.
The court said a family seeking to homeschool their children belong to a “Christian community which is strongly attached to the Bible” and rejected public schooling because of the explicit sexual indoctrination programs that the courses there include.
The German court already had ruled that the parental “wish” to have their children grow up in a home without such influences “could not take priority over compulsory school attendance.” The decision also said the parents do not have an “exclusive” right to lead their children’s education.
The family had appealed under the European Convention on Human Rights statement that: “No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.”
But the court’s ruling said, instead, that schools represent society, and “it was in the children’s interest to become part of that society.
WND also has reported on earlier police action against homeschool families, and government threats against them. One family registered a complaint when their child was picked up by police officers at home and taken to the public school.
“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.
“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.
Joel Thornton, president of the International Human Rights Group, has traveled to Germany to work with Melissa’s parents and legal counsel to try to reach a resolution. He told WND in a telephone interview from Germany that several meetings have been held, mostly unsuccessful.
The court order to take Melissa 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.”
“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.
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
“The ‘Jugendamt’ (youth welfare office) has its origin in the German Nazi state,” the German homeschool group told WND. “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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