Sunday, January 13, 2008

Germany: Open season on homeschoolers

'The situation is horrible. We must leave our country'

WORLDNETDAILY - By Bob Unruh - January 11, 2008

Homeschoolers need to be making plans to flee Germany en masse after a government document implied the advent of a coming crackdown that would target them, an advocate says.

The government letter is addressed to "School Administrations of State and Private Schools" and its subject line specifies "Custody withdrawal for violation of mandatory school attendance."

"The [German] court determined that the parents' refusal to send their children to either a state or a state approved private school is a misuse of parental custody rights, which violates the well-being of the child," the letter, dated just a few weeks ago, said, "and which requires actions by the family court. ---"

"We ask for acknowledgment and compliance," the letter, signed by N. Hauf., director of school affairs, said.

WND has carried numerous reports of homeschooling families in Germany running afoul of that nation's Nazi-era law banning homeschooling, and being fined or otherwise penalized. In recent days, however, the threats against homeschooling parents frequently have included loss of custody of their children, and several families already have fled.

The government letter was forwarded to the United States by a homeschooling advocate in Germany, who expressed his own personal fears for the safety of his family and contemplated leaving his home country himself.

"It is very likely that our family [will have] to leave the country this year. Maybe I have to bring my children and my wife to a place of safety within the next weeks or even days," the advocate said in a personal message to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the world's largest homeschool advocacy organization, which has been involved in a number of recent cases in Germany.

"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. "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."

The government letter was from the State of Bavaria's Ministry of Education and appeared to be directed to local school officials, essentially declaring an open season on homeschoolers in Germany. - - - -

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