HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL
Germany
Germany

June 17, 2008

German Family Faces Trial, Possible Jail Time for Homeschooling

The Dudek family in Archfeld, Germany will be tried on June 18 for homeschooling their children. The Dudeks have quietly and successfully educated their children at home in obedience to God but in the face of Germany’s restrictive laws regarding homeschooling.

The family faces German prosecutor Herwig Mueller, who appealed the previous judge’s ruling that the family be fined. Prosecutor Mueller believes that a fine is insufficient to punish the Dudek family for homeschooling and told the family, “You don’t need to worry about the fine, because I am going to send you to jail.”

The Dudeks homeschool their seven children because of their religious convictions, and they have done well. One of their older son recently received the highest marks in a public school evaluation. The Dudeks are heartbroken at the thought of having to choose between their home and homeschooling.

In Germany, courts have decided that it is an abuse of parental rights to homeschool. Many German homeschooling families face a stark choice—hide or flee. This is not a choice that citizens of a free democratic country should face for homeschooling. Germany’s behavior and treatment of parents who homeschool is outside the boundaries that should be tolerated by freedom-loving nations. In fact, in response to a question recently about homeschooling, Jan Figel, the Commissioner for Education for the European Union, stated that even though education is a national issue, parents should have the right to decide what is best for their children, and that this right is protected by the European Charter.

In spite of this, the German Federal Government passed a law to make it easier for the Youth Welfare Office to take children who are “endangered”—a term that is not defined in the new law and would allow for complete discretion on the part of authorities to decide and when and how to intervene in a family. The Youth Welfare Office has shown a willingness to seize children of homeschooling families in the past, as in the case of Melissa Busekros and others.

The Dudeks are grateful for the prayers and encouragement they have received from homeschoolers in America and other countries. They feel that they are not alone, and they are confident that regardless of the judicial outcome, they are following their convictions and the calling of God.

HSLDA asks all of our praying members to remember the Dudek’s this week as they face this trial. Their brave example helps to point out the outrageous behavior of a so-called “free country” and demonstrates what we in America know—that freedom isn’t free—it is purchased with a price. The Dudek’s are confronted with the cost of following their convictions. And their example is one we should remember as we consider our own freedom.