Homeschooling Parents in Fear of Loosing Custody Over Children

Country: Germany

Date of incident: November 25, 2011

Local and state education officials have threatened to take the Dudek family’s children to school by force, according to a letter to the parents Jürgen and Rosemarie Dudek.

The letter from Regional School Office Director Anita Hoffman says that among the remedies the state may use against the family is to “take custody of the children from the parents” or to “transport the children to school by force.” “It’s the first time in all these years that the head of the school authorities herself sent us a letter,” explains Jürgen Dudek. “I believe they’re in a fix, not knowing exactly how to go on with our case. So they can only resort to putting all kinds of pressure on us, this time even threatening the forced transportation of our children to school.” In a 2009 retrial, jail sentences of 90 days for each parent were overturned, and the family is appealing the criminal fines that were substituted in their place. Even though their oldest son is now apprenticed as a carpenter and received a top score on a state educational exam, educational authorities are mounting pressure to force the family to give up homeschooling and send their children to school. The family has homeschooled for 12 years and has battled in court for over half that time, seeking the right to homeschool their children peacefully. In Germany, unlike most Western countries, however, homeschooling is not permitted. Instead, parents are fined thousands of dollars, threatened with jail time or the loss of custody of their children. Ironically, the highest German courts have ruled that homeschooling may be considered an abuse of parental rights and can be banned in the interest of “stamping out parallel societies.” Sources: