"Homeschooling Illegal" Declares German School Official - Calls Needed Now! (January 11, 2005)
From the HSLDA E-Lert service
Dear HSLDA members and friends:
Seven homeschool families in Northwest Germany are being forced to
enroll their children in public school. The Paderborn County school
board has levied fines against these families and ordered the children
to attend school by Monday, January 10, or the police will forcibly
take them to school. Any resistance by the parents will result in the
removal of these thirteen elementary age children from their homes and
into state custody!
Despite the lack of state recognition in Germany for homeschooling,
these families pulled their children out of public school earlier this
year to begin teaching them at home. Their primary reason, as
Christians, was to protect their children from the humanistic and
godless values being taught to their children in the public school.
While the school district responded by stating that homeschooling is
illegal, the parents' maintained that their fundamental rights as
parents would be violated if they were forced to return the children
to public school. All of the families obtained excellent packaged
curriculums from German correspondence schools, and demonstrated to
school officials that their children were receiving a proper
Heinz Kohler, the county education director, dismissed the families'
beliefs, stating, "you and your children are not living in isolation
on some island but rather in an environment posing intra- and
extracurricular situations where you'll have to accept that your world
view will be curtailed." Mr. Kohler further explained that
homeschooling could not be allowed as "children should not be
encapsulated or kept apart from the outside world. In these cases, the
parents' rights to personally educate their children would prevent the
children from growing up to be responsible individuals within
German homeschoolers have seen much persecution in recent months, and
this action by Paderborn County affirms that the problem has not been
solved. The United States has been blessed for many years with the
freedom to homeschool. Germany does not have this freedom. If
American homeschoolers do not try to help "the least of these," then
who will aid them?
1. In order to help these seven homeschool families in Germany, we
urge you to call or write to the German Embassy immediately and give
them the following message:
"The seven homeschool families in Paderborn County should not be
forced to return their children to public school. A parent's right to
direct the education of his children is a fundamental right that
should be protected. We request that you urge Heinz Kohler and the
county school board to drop the pending fines against the families."
We encourage you to rephrase this message in your own words and
include a few paragraphs in your letter describing the benefits of
homeschooling to your family. It would be best not to include the word
"homeschool" in the subject of your e-mail, as that will make it too
easy for the embassy to filter it out. The whole family should
participate in this project of writing letters to the German Embassy.
This is a great educational opportunity for your children to learn the
importance of the freedoms we have in the United States and how easily
these freedoms can be taken away.
Your decision to contact the embassy may determine the success or
failure of the German homeschool movement.
Wolfgang Ischinger, Ambassador
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
The embassy can be e-mailed from its website:
You may also contact the local German officials involved in the case:
Landrat Paderborn: Mr. Manfred Mueller [email@example.com] (county official)
President Nordrhein-Westfalen: Mr. Peer Steinbrueck - Local media
[firstname.lastname@example.org] - CC [email@example.com]
2. Pray for endurance and protection for these courageous families.
Your e-mails and calls work! A few years ago, the Harder family in
Germany was facing two years imprisonment for homeschooling. Your
calls and emails caused the German authorities to dismiss the Harder
case within three weeks! Protests from overseas can change the views
of the German government.
Thank you for standing together for freedom with your fellow
homeschooling families around the world.
HSLDA Senior Counsel