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"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 education.

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 society..."

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?

REQUESTED ACTION

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
German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
(202) 298-4000

The embassy can be e-mailed from its website: http://www.globescope.biz/germany/reg/index.cfm

You may also contact the local German officials involved in the case:

Landrat Paderborn: Mr. Manfred Mueller [landrat@kreis-paderborn.de] (county official)

President Nordrhein-Westfalen: Mr. Peer Steinbrueck - Local media
[landespresseamt@stk.nrw.de] - CC [poststelle@stk.nrw.de]

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.

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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