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May 17, 2007

German Appeals Court Returns Custody of Homeschooled Girl to Parents

Your prayers and support have helped make possible a rare victory for a homeschooling family in Germany. Yesterday, a German appeals court in Bavaria set aside a lower court ruling that had authorized the Youth Welfare Office in Erlangen, Germany to retain custody of 16-year-old homeschooler Melissa Busekros.

In its opinion the Appeals Court stated that although the lower court ruling was justified based on the evidence at the time, later evidence shows that there is no danger to Melissa’s well-being at home.

In an email to Home School Legal Defense Association the Busekros had this to say:

“The decision by the family court was partially repealed. The important points (custody) were revoked! What remains are the court-appointed lawyer and the evaluation. The urgent appeal has thereby been completed, but now the main case continues in the family court. However, urgent decisions without a hearing may no longer be made. Thank you for all the help we received through phone-calls, emails, letters, parcels, newspaper articles, radio, TV and prayers!!”

Your support of HSLDA and our Home School Foundation’s Germany Fund has allowed us to help fund Melissa's attorney who appealed the lower courts decision achieving this important victory.

HSLDA acknowledges the efforts of other organizations including the International Human Rights Group, and two German Homeschooling Organizations, Schuzh and Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit. The work of these groups, along with HSLDA and HSLDA members who made phone calls, sent letters and emails, helped maintain constant pressure on this issue and doubtless helped to create the groundwork for this decision.

In spite of this positive development for the Busekros family, the plight of German homeschoolers continues with constant harassment, fines and worse by German authorities. HSLDA’s new strategy to help create change in Germany will involve funding academic studies, political lobbying, and legal defense for families in need, like the Busekros family. This strategy supports the work being done by German homeschoolers to change the laws so that Homeschooling in Germany becomes free and legal.

Thank you for all you do on behalf of Homeschooling freedom here in the United States and in Germany.