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Germany

July 29, 2008

Dudek Family Receives Formal Sentence

German homeschool families continue to be persecuted and receive harsh treatment from government agencies in the Federal Republic of Germany while the European Union’s Petitions Committee has promised to look into accusations against Germany for repressing homeschooling.

We told you recently about the Dudek family of in Archfeldt, Germany, who have just received their formal written sentence of three months each in prison because they homeschool. Although the family knew of the sentence after the hearing last month, the court took weeks to prepare its formal written opinion. The family now has four weeks to submit their written appeal of the judge’s decision.

Unfortunately, it appears that the issue for this German judge, and too many others, is less about academic preparation and respecting the rights of parents and the family and more about asserting its autocratic will on families who wish to educate their children at home in accordance with their conscience. After reading the judges’s opinion, Mr. Dudek said that he couldn’t believe the hardline totalitarianism it represented. Mr. Dudek reported that this judge referred to the infamous Konrad case decided by the German high court in 2006 that said that homeschooling could not be allowed because it would lead to the creation of “parallel societies.”

If German judges and public policy makers took the time to look a few miles beyond their own borders they would be able to see the absurdity of this reasoning. This kind of dangerous legal reasoning, in support of a state policy that represses the rights of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children, is a sobering example of what can happen when the courts, rather than parents, determine what is in the best interest of children. This demonstrates what could happen in the United States if the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child were ever ratified.

The Dudeks have been greatly encouraged by the letters they have received from homeschoolers from all over the world. They asked HSLDA to pass on their appreciation for your thoughts and especially your prayers. If you would like to send a note of encouragement to the Dudeks, please write them at:

Friedrichstr. No. 6
37293 Archfeldt Germany

The Dudeks take great comfort in knowing that there are homeschoolers and other freedom lovers all over the world who are with them in thought and prayer!