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February 14, 2012

Call to Action: Email Your Swedish Embassy

How You Can Help

Instructions for finding and emailing your Swedish Embassy are below.

  1. Select your country from the online list.
  2. A website for the Embassy of Sweden in your country will open.
  3. Locate the “Contact us” section on the website
  4. Email or write a letter to the appropriate email or postal address listed.
  5. It is appropriate to address your email or letter to the Swedish Ambassador. The proper salutation is “Dear Mr./Madam Ambassador.”
    * If you mail a letter, please address it to:
    His/Her Excellency [Name of Ambassador]
    Address Line 1
    Address Line 2, etc
Instrucciónes en español

Swedish homeschoolers have explicitly asked their fellow homeschoolers around the world to contact Swedish officials. Sweden continues down a dark path of totalitarianism in education. Although it is likely there are fewer than 100 homeschoolers in the country of 9 million, Swedish officials appear to be vigorously seeking to stamp out the small community. Over the past three years authorities have used a variety of measures including harassment, hefty fines, referral to the courts, and threatening to or actually removing children from the home.

Jonas Himmelstrand, president of the beleaguered Swedish Association for Home Education, says there is a need for as many emails and calls as possible from all over.

“We ask our fellow home educators to email the Swedish authorities on a mass scale about the situation in Sweden,” said Himmelstrand. “We want to let Swedish officials know that their actions have drawn international attention. Please write to the Swedish embassy in your country on our behalf and state that it is a mistake to equate the compulsory education requirement with mandatory school attendance. Banning homeschooling is against all international conventions on human rights.”

Himmelstrand and his wife had homeschooled their three children for multiple years before authorities in the municipality where they live denied them permission in 2008. The Himmelstrands currently face fines in excess of $26,000 in U.S. currency for their choice to homeschool. HSLDA and the Alliance Defense Fund have filed a brief in a Swedish appellate court on behalf of the family. However, their local municipality is now seeking to force them to pay the exorbitant fine, even though their case is being tried at the Kammarrätten (appeals) court.

The Angerstigs are another family who have endured persecution for their decision to homeschool. Lisa Angerstig, an American with a master’s degree in business who is married to a Swede, has homeschooled her children several times with permission in recent years. She ran into trouble when the Uppsala government suddenly decided to prohibit her from homeschooling her older son in 2009. A court verdict stated that their son had to go to school and that the parents would be fined as long as he stays home.

The alarming case of Domenic Johansson warns of the serious threat from Swedish authorities. In June 2009, Swedish police forcibly removed then 7-year-old Domenic from his parents, Christer and Annie, without a warrant, placed him in state custody, and have not yet charged the Johanssons with a crime.

Other families who have faced persecution have already made the difficult decision to flee their homeland and move to nearby Denmark, Finland, or Norway, where homeschool freedom is much greater.

The Hammarnejd family, who fled Sweden, told HSLDA: “We assessed our options. We could stay and fight. Or send our kids to school. Or … move from our homeland. Other families we knew had already left Sweden and moved to different countries. They had no problem home educating, as long as it was outside Sweden.”

Michael Donnelly, director of international relations at HSLDA, explains the gravity of the Swedish situation and the pivotal opportunity for homeschoolers around the world to support these families.

“Homeschooling is legal in the United States and in many other countries only after decades of tumultuous legislative and legal conflicts,” he said. “Swedish families are now fighting for their basic rights. Please support Swedish homeschoolers and send the Swedish embassy in your country a respectful yet persuasive email as soon as possible, explaining how homeschooling has worked for your family and calling upon Sweden to allow parents to choose home education. The right of parents to choose the kind of education their children receive is a fundamental human right recognized by Article 26, part 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.