Homeschooling creates “parallel societies” that must be stamped out, according to the German government’s defense of its 3rd Reich homeschooling prohibition being used now to justify the imprisonment of a 15-year-old student, Melissa Busekros, whose case is being taken to appeal.
In a response published on a blog to a letter expressing concern about Melissa’s case, Wolfgang Drautz, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany, said that “the public has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion or motivated by different world views and in integrating minorities into the population as a whole.
“If we are to achieve integration, not only must the majority of the population prevent the ostracization of religious minorities or minorities with different world views, but minorities must also remain open and engage in dialogue with those who think differently or share different beliefs,” he said.
The case involves the schoolgirl who 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’s since been put in a foster home, and has been allowed, under court supervision, to visit briefly with her parents, although they still are not permitted to know where she actually is staying.
“Article 7 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (the German constitution) places the entire school system under the supervision of the government and ensures that the government makes education available to every citizen,” Drautz wrote. “Homeschool may be equally effective in terms of test scores. It is important to keep in mind, however, that school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens.”
Members of the German homeschool community previously have taken their battle for the right to teach their children Christian basics to the Human Rights Court for the European Union, asking for affirmation of the statement in the European Convention on Human Rights that: “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.”
However, that court affirmed a German court which had ruled the parental “wish” to have their children grow up without anti-Christian influences “could not take priority over compulsory school attendance.” The international court said the family who wanted to prevent the state from indoctrinating their children in anti-Christian sexual beliefs belonged to a “Christian community which is strongly attached to the Bible.”
The international court said schools represent society and “it was in the children’s interest to become part of that society.”
Joel Thornton, the president of the International Human Rights Group, told WND that a lawyer for the Busekros family currently is working towards a deadline in a week on an appeal of an earlier court opinion that ordered the government to keep custody of the schoolgirl.
That court opinion had offered a compromise that would have allowed the girl to return home – with ongoing state-enforced psychiatric supervision – and the family was willing to accept the compromise. “But the Youth Welfare Services and the attorney appointed by the State to represent Melissa refused,” Thornton told WND.
He also said now, “there is talk of having the parents tested. They were willing to go through the psychiatric test even though they are concerned that those tests could be used to completely break their family.”
“Right now the parents do not know where Melissa is. They met with Melissa for an hour late last week in a government building near where she is being kept. They do not [know] the family who is keeping her, but feel that this situation is better than the psychiatric hospital where Melissa was around a number of suicidal young people and a lot of Goths.
“We are trying to keep the pressure up on the local authorities simply because it is good to remind them that we are concerned about their behavior,” he said.
He said he earlier had been able to spend time with Melissa’s family, and he “shared with her parents that we have heard from individuals in nine countries and nearly 20 states, as well as churches from around the world. When I told them that we would stand with them and be committed to praying for them, both parents teared up and said, ‘this is the most important thing.’”
The Youth Welfare Office in Erlangen, which was integral in launching the case against Melissa, also has been defending its actions.
In a statement that was translated from German to English, the officials said their responsibility is to “intervene when a youth is endangered, physically or psychologically.”
“The temporary housing of the girl is a consequence of a decision of the family court in Erlangen. It was considered urgent to evaluate the circumstances of the girl,” the official statement said. “The welfare of the child is the central concern in the actions of the Youth Welfare Office. Together with the family court, and after collecting the necessary evaluations and with the inclusion of the mother, the father and the siblings the Youth Welfare Office will do everything possible to come to a solution that services the well-being of the child.”
Others, however, weren’t waiting for explanations. One group has posted on the Internet a boycott proposal. “Parents Of The World Call For A Boycott Of All German Goods Until Melissa Busekros Is Returned Without Threat Or Condition To Her Family…” the website announces. It warns against purchasing products from Porsche, Siemens and other German corporations.
The German government’s defense of its belief that its “social” teachings in school are needed endorsed an earlier dispute on which WND reported, when a German family wrote to officials objecting to police officers picking their child up at home and delivering him to a public school.
“The Minister of Education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling…,” said a government letter in response. “You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers… 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.”
In Melissa’s case, the local Youth Welfare Office arrived at the family home with about 15 uniformed police officers to take her into custody. They had in hand a court order allowing them to take her into custody, “if necessary by force.”
The Home School Legal Defense Association, the largest homeschool organization in the U.S. with more than 80,000 member families, said the case is 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.”
American homeschoolers should be concerned, as WND has reported, because the ease with which similar restrictions on free choice could be imposed in the United States.
A liberal Senate and a liberal 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.
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 such developments in Europe.
A homeschool advocate in Germany Netzwerk-Bildungsfreiheit, 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.”
“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,” the Netzerk-Bildungsfreiheit spokesman said.
The HSLDA is asking people to contact the German Embassy at:
Dr. Klaus Scharioth
Ambassador, German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
The embassy can be e-mailed from its website, the HSLDA said.
The IHRG said Americans also could contact:
Youth Welfare Office
Director: Edeltraud H?llerer
Tel. +49 9131 86-2844
Fax +49 9131 86-2438
Local Court Erlangen
Tel. +49 9131-782 01
Fax +49 9131/782-361
Are you a representative of the media who would like to interview the author of this story? Let us know.
Related special offers: