Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134



For Immediate Release Contact: Jeremiah Lorrig
February 3, 2012 (540) 338-5600

Sweden Crushing Homeschoolers

Exorbitant Fines as Politicians Call for Government to Seize Homeschooled Children

HSLDA, ADF say changes would violate international legal standards on human rights


PURCELLVILLE, Va.—A leader of Sweden’s Liberal Party last week called for a change in the country’s social services law so that the government can take children away from homeschooling families more easily by allowing social workers to do so.

The call for the change comes amidst already stringent penalties in Sweden for homeschooling. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and have applied to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of one family whose child was abducted by the government in 2009 and have filed a brief in a Swedish appellate court on behalf of another family fined an amount equivalent to $26,000 USD.

“The right of parents to choose the kind of education their children receive is a fundamental human right recognized in international legal documents including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sweden has lost its way and is ignoring basic human rights, joining Germany in repressing educational freedom. It’s important that free people stand up to governments who persecute their own people,” said Michael Donnelly, director of international relations at HSLDA.

“Parents have the right and authority to make decisions regarding their children’s education without government interference,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “Swedish policy on home education is at odds with recognized international legal standards that uphold the right of parents to direct the education of their children.”

Liberal Party politician Lotta Edholm called for the change to the country’s social services law in a Jan. 10 column in Aftonbladet, a prominent Swedish newspaper. Edholm then wrote on her blog: “Today I write with Ann-Katrin Aslund on Aftonbladet’s debate page that the social services law should be amended so that social services are able to intervene when children are kept away from school by their parents—often for religious or ideological reasons.”

The statement is the most direct and serious threat to date for homeschooling families in the Nordic country, where the climate for homeschooling has continued to deteriorate. The Swedish Court of Appeal has agreed to review three different cases in which government officials denied permission to homeschool.

“ADF and HSLDA will continue to defend homeschooling families in Sweden and other European countries until we win,” Donnelly said.

Pronunciation guide: Kiska (KISH’-kuh), Donnelly (DAHN’-uh-lee)

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a 29-year-old, 85,000 member non-profit organization and the preeminent national association advocating the legal right of parents to homeschool their children.

****