It was reported by the Homeschooling Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) in the USA, arguing that homeschooling damages children and is an abuse of parental authority, a German district court in Darmstadt transferred the custody rights of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich’s four children to the Jugendamt, Germany’s child protective agency.
The German government has been persecuting homeschooling families since 2005 on the grounds that the state has an interest in counteracting the development of “parallel societies”. Many German homeschooling families have left the country. In 2010, Tennessee Judge Lawrence Burman has granted political asylum to the Romeike family and called Germany's actions with the Romeike family a violation of their human rights and a “repellent to everything we believe as Americans” before passing a ruling that allowed them to stay in the U.S.
Unfortunately not all German homeschooling families were able to leave the country. The Wunderlich family attempted to leave the country, but after no success in finding work outside Germany, the family was forced to return to their home in Hessen, Germany. Because of the court’s transfer of custody to the government the Wunderlichs are effectively imprisoned in Germany since they cannot take their children out of the country without permission.
The Association for Homeschooling has written many letters to the German Embassy in South Africa on the persecution of homeschoolers in South Africa. The Association has received a response from the German Embassy where they re-iterate that “The public has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies …”.
A global conference on freedom for home educators will be held in November. Mike Donnelly from the HSLDA along with other organizers of the conference hope it may help to improve the situation in Germany. Leendert van Oostrum from the Pestalozzi Trust and others from South Africa will also attend this conference. You can learn more about the conference at www.ghec2012.org or view the promotional video on Youtube. The Wunderlichs as well as the Johanssons (whose son is detained by the Swedish government since 2009) are scheduled to be at this conference.