Wednesday, July 30, 2008

German home school parents sentenced to 3 mos in jail ... for teaching their kids

Their crime? They were parents who educated their children at home ... who cared too much about their children's education ... hands-on parents participating in building a strong foundation for their children.

Their punishment? Three months in jail, according to German authorities. World Net Daily reported:

A newspaper reporter in Hesse, Harald Sagawe, said the parents previously paid fines 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."

Judge Peter Hobbel, who imposed the fines, criticized school officials for refusing to answer the family's request for approval of their "private school."

But Arno Meissner, the chief of the government's local education department, said he would enforce the mandatory school attendance law against the family, and he said he resented the judge's interference.
[emphasis added]
The education department apparently has no interest in offering an opportunity for parents to educate their children at home, thereby leaving no avenue other than to break away and disobey the law for those who do not agree with the state government-run schools.

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) out of Purcellville, VA, has followed this case from the beginning:
Unfortunately, it appears that the issue for this German judge, and too many others, is less about academic preparation and respecting the rights of parents and the family and more about asserting its autocratic will on families who wish to educate their children at home in accordance with their conscience.

After reading the judges’s opinion, Mr. Dudek [the home school parent] said that he couldn’t believe the hardline totalitarianism it represented. Mr. Dudek reported that this judge referred to the infamous Konrad case decided by the German high court in 2006 that said that homeschooling could not be allowed because it would lead to the creation of “parallel societies.”
World Net Daily also notes:
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."
Even the family's plans to move from the area will not prevent prosecution, according to the German government. Reportedly:
HSLDA [Home School Legal Defense Association] officials estimate there are some 400 homeschool families in Germany, virtually all of them either forced into hiding or facing court actions.

Just weeks ago, WND reported the Dudeks warned about a new German federal law that
also gives family courts the authority to take custody of children "as soon as there is a suspicion of child abuse," which is how the nation's courts have defined homeschooling.
An outpouring of support and encouragement for the Dudek family has come from around the world. Hitler? Government interference with families? And to think there are some who believe America should be more like Europe....


Kinderlehrer said...

Hi Lynn!

If you are interested in the background information or keeping up with what is happening to the Dudeks and other homeschooling families in Germany, you may like to take a look at Educating Germany.

How a state can honestly say they are doing the best for its young citizens by persecuting parents who want to make educational choices for their children, I simply can not fathom.

Perhaps I am biased to think that parents have this human right?

SWAC Girl said...

Thank you for the link -- I checked it out.

I, too, believe parents have the right to educate their children as they see fit. I educated my children at home for 16 years. One has graduated from college, and the other is currently attending college.

World Net Daily and Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) are keeping us all informed and updated on the cases in Germany. As I understand, at least 400 home educating families are in hiding.

If you are in Germany -- and I cannot believe I have to say this -- be safe. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of you.