26 July 2005

German Court Takes Custody Rights for Homeschooling

A court in the German city of Paderborn has temporarily taken away custody rights from two sets of parents. The parents refuse to send their children to public schools for religious reasons. The families are immigrants from Russia and members of a conservative Baptist church.

They belong to a group of eight families of whom 16 children do not attend school. The parents especially object to the manner in which public schools teach Biology (including comprehensive sex education and Darwinism) as well as to the very liberal Religion classes.

The court contends that the parents are hindering the children from “developing a personality appropriate for their age afforded by attending school.”

The parents homeschool their children until about age 10, but refuse to send to public school after that. Despite fines levied on them, they persist in their position. Custody of the children of two families has now been awarded to Childrens’ Services which have been charged by the court to make sure the children attend school in fall.

A spokesperson for the district of Detmold has confirmed that the parents have filed a request to start a private school. This request has been denied since the district judged that it was merely a thinly disguised form of homeschooling. “A living room is not a class room,” according to the spokesperson.

Homeschooling was outlawed in Germany in 1938 during Hitler’s Nazi regime but this prohibition has never been repealed. Nevertheless, approximately 500 children are currently being homeschooled in Germany.

Non-German Christians from around the world are encouraged to sign a petition online at www.solidrockfaith.com and send it to the German embassy in Washington D.C.

Source: Nederlands Dagblad / Christenkurier.de / www.solidrockfaith.com
translated and edited by : Michel van der Hoek

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