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 ↑
A critical hearing is scheduled in Germany in that nations’ war against homeschoolers to determine whether a family can continue to control the education of its high-performing son, 14.
From their home, the Schmidts have taught their children, Josua and Aaron, for nine years. Josua, 16, recently finished tests documenting his completion of all the requirements of the schooling system, but the fight remains over the future schooling for Aaron, who has been tested as performing at high academic levels, Thornton said.
“This hearing is to determine whether the Schmidts keep the legal custody of their one child remaining in school or have the court take that custody and give it to the Youth Welfare Office,” Thornton said.
“Why is this so important? It is not just about homeschooling. The real issue is the right of parents to control the upbringing of their children,” Thornton added. “One of the fundamental rights of parents is the right to educate their children according to the dictates of their own religious beliefs.
“If the state has the right to control education regarding reading and math curriculum without question, they will soon exercise the right to control the religious education as well,” he continued.
“This is a real threat in an ever increasing secular society,” he said.
IHRG’s report said the Schmidts have been fined about $18,300 for homeschooling, and since they are unable to pay all of the fines, they have been subjected to a government lien on their home.
“Testing both children showed that they have extraordinary academic abilities,” Thornton reported. “The tests also showed the children to be socially competent. This is critical as the Germans still hold to the disproven belief that homeschool children are socially retarded.”
Josua tested to earn his high school diploma, showing the “Schmidts have done an excellent job of education their children at home,” Thornton said.
Aaron has some studies remaining but recently completed an internship at a local zoo. It is his future schooling that is being threatened by the government, IHRG said.
The war over homeschooling in Germany will end, according to Thornton, “when we prevail in either the courts or the courtroom of public opinion. We will continue to support home school families in Germany as long as there are home school families in Germany. This is one of the most critical battles for religious freedom in the world. We will not back down, and neither will the faithful Germans we are standing with in this battle.”
WND reported in 2006 when the European Court of Human Rights affirmed Germany’s nationwide ban on homeschooling, a leftover from its Nazi era that essentially said parents’ desires for their children’s education didn’t matter.
Since the 2006 affirmation of Germany’s ban on homeschooling WND has reported on numerous cases handled by the IHRG or the Home School Legal Defense Association in which penalties and fines, even the threat of jail time, have been imposed against parents who object to permissive sexual teachings and objectionable material in public schools, prompting them to homeschool their children instead.
Several hundred families are believed to be homeschooling Germany. Virtually all are in some type of court proceeding or living underground.
The Strasbourg, France-based court in its 2006 decision said the parental “wish” to have their children grow up without liberal sexual 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.
A website for the Practical Homeschool Magazine noted one of the first acts by Adolf 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.”
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