Parents Arrested After Refusing Their Children's Participation in a Sex Ed Play

Country: Germany

Date of incident: April 8, 2010

Christian parents arrested and imprisoned up to 40 days when they refused to allow their children to participate in a mandatory sexual education program.

Two mothers from Salzkotten, Germany, Anna D. and Elisabeth E., were arrested in their homes after not allowing their children to attend a theatre production related to sexual education. The production was entitled "My Body Belongs to Me".  The women objected to the production on the grounds that it promoted, rather than prevented pedophilia; their decision to remove their children from the production resulted in one being imprisoned for six days, the other for eight. The Christian mothers claim their arrests were an infringement upon their freedom of religion and conscience. The fathers of the two families were later imprisoned as well for refusing their childrens’ participation in the production.  Other parents at this elementary school followed suit and disallowed their children from participating; their refusal led to 17 further imprisonments; the longest of these being 40 days. Christian communities are calling for an appeal, and attorney Armin Eckermann has expressed his concerns for fundemental and human rights.  He argues that in the handling of these cases there has been a lack of the parents’ freedom religion, and conscience.