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Prosecutor wants homeschool parents jailed
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 05/19/2007 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
A federal prosecutor in the German state of Hesse has announced plans to seek three-month prison terms for a mother and father who homeschool their six children, even though the family already has paid fines for violating the nation’s Hitler-era homeschooling ban and made plans to move.
The news comes from the Netzwork-Bildungsfreiheit, a German homeschool advocacy group, just days after court officials confirmed, as WND reported, a teen in another German state who was taken to a psychiatric hospital because she was homeschooled has been returned to her family.
Joerg Grosseleumern, a spokesman for the German advocacy group, said a prosecutor, unsatisfied with fines the family already has paid, is demanding the 90-day terms in custody for Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek.
He said that’s possible because in the state of Hesse, a family’s failure to follow the mandatory school attendance laws violates not only administrative regulations, but the criminal code.
“We want to inform you that again a homeschooling family in Germany is under severe pressure,” he wrote in his alert. “The Dudek family … is threatened to be sent to prison because of homeschooling their children.”
“It is embarrassing the German officials put parents into jail whose children are well educated and where the family is in good order,” he wrote. “We personally know the Dudeks as such a family.”
He cited a report from a local newspaper that confirmed the prosecutor, Herwig Muller, is appealing the verdict of fines against the Dudeks.
The newspaper said the fines were imposed in May, but the prosecutor wants – and has applied for – jail sentences of three months each for Rosemarie and Jurgen Dudek. Muller also said he will not allow probation for the parents of six children.
The newspaper reporter, Harald Sagawe, said the parents were fined because “they did not send their children to school, for religious reasons.”
He continued, “The parents, Christians who closely follow the Bible, teach their children themselves. Two years ago the court had also dealt with the Dudeks. That case, dealing with the payment of a fine, had been dropped.”
At that time, the family also had submitted an application for approval of a “state-recognized private school,” the newspaper said, “which, according to experts, has no chance of success at any rate.”
That request, however, has been pending before school officials for the entire two years, a fact Judge Peter Hobbel criticized in imposing fines.
Jurden Dudek told the newspaper he’s horrified by the idea the prosecutor wants to see him and his wife behind bars.
“It is a terrible thing, to lock up a family that hasn’t done anyone any harm,” he said.
Arno Meissner, the chief of the government’s local education department, said he will enforce the mandatory school attendance law against the family as soon as he can, and he said he resented the judge’s interference in administrative processes.
“We will enforce the compulsory school attendance against the family as promptly as possible,” he said. He said he will notify the family of the requirements, set a time limit, then open a criminal case.
Not even the announcement of the family’s plans to move will settle the issue, he said.
And he confirmed his department will take nothing from the judge in the case.
“His duty is to make a judgment when the prosecutor brings a charge and to stay out of administrative matters,” Meissner said.
The homeschool organization said the German official in charge, the minister of education for Hesse, is Karin Wolff, and she can be reached at
Hessisches Kultusministerium, Luisenplatz 10, 65185 Wiesbaden, 06151/17120.
She also can be reached via e-mail, the group said.
Practical Homeschool Magazine has 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.”
Officials with the Home School Legal Defense Association, the pre-eminent homeschool advocacy organization in the world, are actively involved in a number of cases. Estimates are that there are about 400 homeschool families in Germany – virtually all of them either forced into hiding or in court.
WND has reported that in the case of the teen who was taken by police to the psychiatric ward that a German appeals court has ordered legal custody returned to her family.
The court ruling said it was appropriate for a judge to order police officers to take Melissa Busekros, now 16, into custody at the time in late January, but new information now reveals that she no longer is in danger.
Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has commented on the issue on a blog, noting the government “has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion….”
Drautz said schools teach socialization, and as WND reported, that is important, as evident in the government’s response when a German family wrote 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.”
Michael Farris, founder of the HSLDA, has said he believes the German treatment of Christian homeschoolers is the “edge of the night that’s coming” for believers.
“Germany is the only Western democracy taking this incredibly hard-line approach, but there are growing clouds on a number of national horizons,” Farris told WND.
“The philosophy that the government knows best how to raise children is really becoming a worldwide phenomenon,” Farris said. “I think Germany represents the edge of the night that’s coming.”
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