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August 4, 2010

Homeschoolers Denied Permission to Travel

On the Caribbean island of Curaçao, a part of the Netherlands Antilles, citizens must abide by stringent education laws. For example, families are prohibited from traveling off of the island with their children during school days unless granted special permission from the school principal, as well as the Ministry of Education.

HSLDA recently learned of the island’s interpretation of its compulsory education law when a homeschool family attempted to take their children to attend the wedding of a friend in the United States. The family has successfully homeschooled for one year in Curaçao and for six years prior to that in the United States. The children hold dual Dutch-American citizenship. Yet the local government denied the family’s application for an exemption from the compulsory attendance law. The family is now pursuing an administrative appeal to see if they can gain the necessary exemption to homeschool. The next step would be to take their case to court.

The Netherlands Antilles is closely linked with the Netherlands, and in fact, several of the Antilles islands will become part of their mother country later this year. In both countries, it is possible to homeschool on the basis of personal conviction. Whereas Dutch law requires homeschool parents to notify school authorities of their intent to homeschool, the current law in Curaçao requires parents to request and obtain an exemption from the school law to teach their children at home. Exemptions are rarely granted, as education officials state that there are “sufficient public schools” on the island.

HSLDA is supporting the family as they fight for their homeschooling freedom. Please keep this family in your prayers. If you would like to financially assist international homeschoolers like this family, please visit the Home School Foundation’s website for its International Fund.