Swedish Appeals Court to Hear Homeschooling Cases
On March 21, 2011, the Kammarrätten, an administrative appeals court just below the Swedish Supreme Court, agreed to review the homeschooling cases of the Himmelstrand and Angerstig families. This is the first time in recent years that a higher court in Sweden has decided to review a lower court’s decision denying homeschooling.
Lisa Angerstig, an American with a master’s degree in business and 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.
Jonas Himmelstrand is a business consultant who also serves as president of the Swedish national homeschooling association, ROHUS. He and his wife homeschool their three children. The Himmelstrands have been repeatedly denied permission to homeschool, and currently face fines approaching $40,000.
Himmelstrand was pleased by the news that a higher court had agreed to review cases involving homeschooling. This positive step stands in stark contrast to recent developments in Sweden that indicated a grim future for homeschoolers there.
“This is the biggest breakthrough so far!” Himmelstrand told HSLDA. “The fact that the Kammarrätten takes up [our case] means that the decision of the lower court is in doubt, and that the Kammarrätten believes there is a possibility of changing the decision.”
“I believe I have a right to homeschool my children,” he added. “The law allows it, and the Uppsala authorities have never given any good reason for denying my homeschooling—while I have given hours of evidence showing that homeschooling works and is best especially for my children.”
“This is a ray of hope for Swedish homeschoolers,” said HSLDA Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly. “The decision to review is significant. HSLDA, in partnership with the Alliance Defense Fund, will continue to provide financial, legal, and moral support to Swedish homeschoolers.”
“As a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Sweden is viewed as a role model for family and educational policy by many developing countries,” Donnelly noted. “By fighting for homeschool freedom in Sweden, we can help change outdated stereotypes that still exist in other European countries—even where homeschooling is legal. Our work in Sweden can help defeat bad policy decisions about homeschooling in those nations.”