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September 20, 2007

German Prosecutor Wants Homeschooling Parents in Jail

A new situation representing the plight of homeschoolers in Germany is developing in the state of Hesse.

The Dudeks, a homeschooling family of eight, were tried, convicted and fined 900 euros (about $1,200) in May for not sending their children to school. Hessian law allows for an exception to compulsory school attendance in “compelling cases.” But, as a matter of practice, homeschooling is not tolerated.

Following the trial, state prosecutor Herwig Mueller told Mr. Dudek that he needn’t worry about the fine. “You won’t have to pay it,” said Mr. Mueller, “because I am going to send you and your wife to jail.”

Additionally, the local Youth Welfare Office in Hesse filed a case against the family in the local Family Court. But at a July 3 hearing, a judge ruled the Dudeks could keep custody of their six children.

In the neighboring state of Bavaria, similar authorities in January took Melissa Busekros from her family under an escort of 15 police officers. In Zitau, the Brause family was forced to flee Germany after the Family Court in their state took custody of their children because they were homeschooling. Other families have fled under similar pressure—just because they were homeschooling.

The Dudeks are determined to resist this repressive authoritarianism rather than leave their homeland.

“We are simple, peaceable people. We are not trying to harm anyone or create a parallel society. We simply wish to educate our children in the best way for them—just like millions of other families all over the world,” said Mr. Dudek.

You can send a note of encouragement to the Dudeks at Freiderichstr, No. 6, 37293 Archfeld, Germany.

The plight of German homeschoolers will not improve until authorities in the state governments make changes to the laws and regulations to stop bureaucrats from persecuting homeschooling families. Home School Legal Defense Association calls upon the Hessian government and other states in Germany to create the necessary administrative rules specifying the procedure for families who want to homeschool.

Sadly, German courts approve this persecution because, say judges, homeschooling might lead to so-called “parallel societies.” Hundreds of countries all over the world have found that homeschooling does not create parallel societies. Rather, homeschooling produces excellent academic results and students who are emotionally and socially mature—ready to take their places as productive members of society.

HSLDA is engaged in a broad-based effort to support Germans who are working to change laws and regulations to allow homeschooling. HSLDA provides aid to families and groups by funding studies, conferences, and legal battles for the most intensely persecuted families. It is our goal to help Germans change their internal laws and regulations through financial, legal, political and moral support.