|HSLDA News||March 28, 2003|
National Alert: Ukrainian Homeschoolers Desperately Need Our Help
The country Ukraine has a small but growing homeschool movement. Most of the families homeschooling are doing so for religious reasons. They believe they are called by God to train their children in God's ways, rather than using the secular public school curriculum.
Although the laws of Ukraine technically allow for homeschooling with certain restrictions, the Kaliya region is presently prosecuting six Christian homeschool families: the Krivosheev, Petrenko, Boboshko, Smirnikh, Kushnirenko, and Kasyanenko families. On January 27, their minor children were taken away by village officials and questioned without their parent's knowledge. Currently, proceedings are underway to deprive these parents of their parental rights and to remove these children from their own homes.
Several HSLDA members have had doubts expressed to them by the embassy workers that the Kaliya region exists. This region does indeed exist within the Odessa region of Ukraine. The incidents took place in the village of Shevchenko. These homeschool families are being prosecuted in the Kaliya Regional Court, and these prosecutions are being pressed by the local school district, the Kaliya Regional Department of Public Education.
You can make a difference by simply contacting the Ukrainian embassy and voicing your concern.
HSLDA has sent out alerts on behalf of homeschoolers in other countries with great success. See our background information below for more detail on the effectiveness of previous alerts regarding the persecution of homeschoolers in other countries.
Please contact by phone the Consular Office of the Embassy of Ukraine as soon as possible and give them this message:
"Homeschooling is legal in the Ukraine, yet six innocent families are being prosecuted in the Kaliya region. If the Ukraine is to be recognized as a truly free country, it must protect this most basic of all rights: the right of parents to choose how and where to educate their children. The cases against these six families must be dismissed immediately."
Be aware that phone lines may get quickly jammed. The phone number is (202) 333-0606 (You will hear a recording. Press 5. Then choose either 0 to try to leave a message with receptionist or option 4 for the press/consular)
Also please send a letter, fax or email to the ambassador that says the following in your own words:
"Homeschooling is legal in the Ukraine, yet six innocent families are being prosecuted in the Kaliya region. The Kaliya Regional Court has issued fines against the Krivosheev, Petrenko, Boboshko, Smirnikh, Kushnirenko, and Kasyanenko families. Proceedings are currently underway to deprive these parents of their parental rights and to remove their children from their homes.
"If the Ukraine is to be recognized as a truly free country, it must protect this most basic of all rights: the right of parents to choose how and where to educate their children. The cases against these six families must be dismissed immediately."
Please explain that you are a homeschooler and how homeschooling has been a successful option for your family.
His Excellency Kostyantyn Gryshchenko
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the UnitedStates
Consular Office of the Embassy of Ukraine
3350 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
Phone: (202) 333-0606
Fax: (202) 333-7510
In the past, U.S. homeschoolers have had similar opportunities to help struggling homeschool families of other countries and we have seen some dramatic results.
South Africa: two homeschool parents were freed from prison and eventually homeschooling was legalized through three separate phone call alerts.
Germany: a case against a homeschool family was dropped within three weeks after thousands of calls were made to the German embassy.
Ireland: draconian home visit legislation was defeated after two alerts to the Irish embassy and additional work with the Parliament.
Czech Republic: over 170,000 e-mails were delivered to the Czech Parliament by U.S. homeschoolers, shutting down the Parliament server for a day. The e-mail campaign helped stop a bill which would have made it nearly impossible to homeschool in the Czech Republic.
Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice your time to write a letter, email, or make a call. We urge you to make this an opportunity to train your children in geography and history.
If the homeschoolers of America do not come to the assistance of these homeschool families in Ukraine, who will?