German Mother Jailed for Refusing Government Sex-Ed

Country: Germany

Date of incident: March 31, 2011

Irene Wiens, mother of twelve, served a 43-day jail sentence in Germany for refusing to enroll her children in sex-ed classes, deemed by her husband and herself to teach a permissive view of human sexuality. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights has been filed.

Irene Wiens is serving a 43-day jail sentence in March 2011 for refusing her children’s participation in their schools sex ed program in 2006.

Irene and her husband Heinrich contend that a play that the children would have had to watch as part of the program, “Mein Körper Gehört Mir,” (My Body Is Mine) teaches a permissive view of human sexuality, telling children that pleasure is the standard for measuring if a practice is acceptable or not. The German authorities reportedly claim that the course exists to prevent sexual abuse, something the Wiens argue has never been proven. “Parents, not the government, are the ones ultimately responsible for making educational choices for their children, and jailing them for standing on this universal right is simply unconscionable,” said their legal counsel Roger Kiska (Alliance Defense Fund) in a press release.

"Irene Wiens was well within her rights under the European Convention of Human Rights to opt to teach her children a view of sexuality that is in accord with her own religious beliefs, instead of sending them to four days of classes and an interactive play that she found to be objectionable.”

The first protocol of the European Convention on Human Right reads in part: “the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions."

The Wiens were assessed a fine when they decided to withhold their children from the government-mandated sexual education classes and substituted their own program.

When they refused to pay the fine, they were sentenced to jail. Heinrich Wiens served his sentence late last year.

Alliance Defense Fund reports that it currently has four other cases of a like nature before the European Court of Human rights, and that Irene Wiens is the tenth Christian parent who has been imprisoned during the current wave of repression. Some families have fled Germany, including one that was recently granted political asylum in the United States due to the persecution experienced in Germany for their home schooling practices.

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