A resolution has been reached that will allow a homeschooling family of missionaries from the United States to continue their work planting new Christian churches across Europe, although they won’t be allowed to remain in Germany, according to a human rights group working on the case of the family of Clint Robinson.
German officials had ordered the family deported because they chose to homeschool their children, which is not allowed in that nation, but officials with the International Human Rights Group now have told WND a resolution has been reached.
“What they’ve done is this: they’ve given the family a quasi-legal status. They don’t have a visa as they would typically, but they have an assurance they can stay until the end of the year and homeschool, and they’re not going to have a black mark on their record,” said IHRG spokesman Joel Thornton.
He said the family expected to be at the German location only two years anyway, and that would be up in March of 2009, so plans already are being made for them to establish residency in another country where homeschooling is allowed.
German officials had ordered the family deported because of their homeschooling. Officials with the IHRG both in the United States and Germany worked on their case through administrative channels during 2007, and eventually the case went to court.
There, the judges ruled that the administrative procedure hadn’t been followed properly, and the case was returned to administrators, who eventually reached the agreement for the Robinsons to remain through 2008 and then leave Germany, Thornton said.
The family had moved to Nurnberg in 2007 to expand a German church’s services in the English language, and that has been accomplished, Thornton said.
The Home School Legal Defense Association, the world’s largest homeschool advocacy organization, earlier had documented the story of Clint Robinson, his wife Susan and their three children, who arrived in Germany in March 2007 after they sold their possessions in the U.S. and took on an assignment as missionaries.
When they arrived, they applied for a residency permit, required by the government. But local authorities immediately reacted to the family’s plans to homeschool their own children, noting, “they were already aware that these missionaries refuse to give their children over to the state school system.”
“German officials appear to be more determined than ever to rid their country of influences that may contribute to the rise of what they call ‘Parallelgesellschaften,’ parallel societies,” the HSLDA said in a statement at the time. “Never mind that Germany has hundreds of thousands of genuinely truant youth hanging around street corners; school officials have determined that parents diligently educating their children at home are a greater danger to German society.”
As WND reported earlier, a German judge had refused to give permission for the Robinsons to remain unless their children were enrolled in the local public schools. But the Christian family could not accept that.
“The German education system is very hostile to devout Christian faith,” Thornton said. “Their health education in public middle schools is very explicit regarding human reproduction. It is often nothing short of pornographic, even in the lower grades. Their science curriculum is very heavily weighted in its discussions of evolution. Also, there is a lot of teaching on occult practices.”
Homeschooling has been in illegal in Germany since the days of Hitler, but the crackdowns seem to be tightening. In recent months homeschoolers have been fined the equivalent of thousands of dollars, had custody of their children taken away, had their homes threatened with seizure and in one case, that of Melissa Busekros, had a team of SWAT officers arrive on a doorstep with orders to seize her, “if necessary by force.”
The Robinsons had been given a Dec. 20, 2007, deadline to leave, but that later was extended. The family’s original deportation order was handed down in August, with a deadline 45 days out. Then in September, a Germany organization launched by HSLDA filed an appeal on behalf of the Robinson family, delaying the deportation.
“The behavior of German authorities against families who homeschool goes against the very fiber of what free and democratic societies stand for – that governments exist to protect the rights of people not to take them away,” Mike Donnelly, a staff attorney for the HSLDA, said earlier. “In Germany it appears that the judicial, executive and legislative branches of government do not care to protect the human right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children which includes the right to homeschool – a view shared by nearly all other western civilized countries.”
WND has reported on several families who fled Germany because of issues over homeschooling, including one family whose members fled to Iran for the relative freedom they would have there.
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 or motivated by different world views and in integrating minorities into the population as a whole.”
Drautz said homeschool students’ test results may be as good as for those in school, but “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.”
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