Homeschooled Child Seized by Swedish Government
Seven-year-old taken away from his family by Swedish authorities at Arlanda International Airport in Stockholm, for being home educated, although home education was legal in Sweden at that time.
On June 25th of 2009, officials of the Gotland municipality seized seven-year-old Domenic Johansson, son of Christer and Annie Johansson, removing him from his parents from an airplane at Arlanda International Airport in Stockholm without a warrant, reports LifeSiteNews. Domenic and his parents were on their way to India, Annie’s home country and where her entire family still resides, to work with a humanitarian project.
In June 2009, Chair of Sweden's department of Children and Education Lena Celion said it is Domenic's right to be enrolled in school, and the municipality is exercising its duty by forcing the family to enroll the boy, even though his Evangelical parents wanted to legally homeschool their child, because he did not feel well in the noisy environment at the state school. The family clearly communicated their intentions to leave the country and decided to start with public schooling after their time in India.
Domenic was taken by uniformed armed police from his family despite the fact that they were not suspected of any crimes nor abuse, turned over to state officials and then placed in foster care. A court ruled in October that Domenic could not be returned to the family home and Social Services must keep custody of Domenic over government concerns he was being homeschooled by evangelical parents.
Gotland Social Services claimed that the child displayed “deviant” behavior in school, including laughing and hugging other children in class and kissing them on the cheek. They claimed that Domenic “does not know how to relate to children his age.” Social workers, justifying their continued custody, told a court that Domenic’s education was “delayed” and that he liked to “play with younger children,” reports LifeSiteNews.
Since then, Domenic has been held in the custody of Gotland Social services and is allowed to see his family for one hour every five weeks. On November 22, 2010, after a year and a half, Johansson removed his son from a state supervised visit without permission to take him to see his grandparents and spend a night at home. According to Chapter 4 section 2 of the Criminal Code, he was punished with a prison sentence of two months.
Swedish child protection laws have long been criticized as being excessively interventionist; social workers are given broad discretion in seizing children and holding them up to age 21, reports LifeSiteNews. Under the current laws, social workers can, on their own judgment, disrupt families and remove children without any proof being presented to a court. The law specifies that parents who object too strongly can be restricted from seeing their children.
The case has been the focal point of work by the Home School Legal Defense Associationas (HSLDA) well as the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), and the Nordic Committee for Human Rights, which are calling for the Europe Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on behalf of the family to move forward in the case.
In a report on the case, the HSLDA said, “What this really means, of course, is that the social workers believe that Domenic should not be raised by his parents simply because the state has a different opinion of how children should be raised.”
Update in 2011: Please read http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/swedish-authorities-threaten-to-completely-revoke-parental-rights-of-homesc
We thank Hilary White and LifeSiteNews for reporting:
Sources and further information:
Alliance Defense Fund: http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/3607