By Peter J. Smith

ERLANGEN, Germany, April 23, 2007 ( – German homeschooler Melissa Busekros finally returned home early this morning on her 16th birthday after having been forcibly separated from her family by the government 3 months ago.

Back in February, Melissa was seized from her family home in a dramatic police raid for the crime of home schooling – illegal since 1937 by edict of Nazi Chancellor Adolf Hitler – and placed with a foster home in a location unknown to her family.

The International Human Rights Group (IHRG), which has doggedly championed the rights of Busekros and other German home schooling families, reports Melissa penned a note to her foster family and left in the dead of night, arriving on her doorstep in Erlangen at 3AM to the astonishment of her family.

IHRG President Joel Thornon told that German law entitles Melissa Busekros to far more rights after turning 16, “giving her virtual control where she lives.”

So as soon as she turned 16, Melissa Busekros – the same girl a state official of the Jugendamt (Youth Welfare Office) falsely described as happy in state custody – headed out the door for home.

There is a danger the Jugendamt may order police forces to seize Melissa again. However, confident of her new legal rights, Melissa is prepared to refuse to leave home on the advice of her attorney, Dr. Hildebrandt.

Richard Guenther, IHRG’s director of European Operations, contacted the Busekros family this morning urging them to inform Dr. Hildebrandt immediately so that he can be fully prepared to respond to any visit from state police.

Joel Thornton, President of IHRG, said he spoke with Gudrun, Melissa’s mother, who is “relieved to have her entire family back together.”

Tonight, the dinner table will have its one empty spot filled for the first time in 3 months for a birthday celebration.

“A lot of those home school families are at the Busekros house celebrating her coming home, and there’s a bit of a bonding that’s going on right now,” said Thornton. “For the first time, they’re able to get together and kind of celebrate and have a party for a victory.”

Thornton expressed hope that Melissa’s return home would cause the government to slow down and reconsider its harsh line toward German homeschooling families.

Thornton says Melissa now wants to finish her education by an accredited correspondence school, which is permitted by law at 16, and he urged supporters to contact the Mayor of Erlangen to put a stop to any further action by the Jugendamt.

“The bigger battle is to continue to pray for and support this family so the government does not come back in and take her back” said Thornton. “We don’t want this to become a half-time moment, where everyone takes a breath and we start all over again.”

A state psychology evaluation last week also showed that Melissa Busekros is a “stable person” and does not suffer from “school phobia.” A professor of psychology who directs the institution that oversaw Melissa’s care while she was held in state custody performed the evaluation in the presence of a second psychologist at the request of the Jugendamt in Erlangen.

Both the positive evaluation and Melissa’s new legal rights considerably weaken the government’s case, and Dr. Hildebrandt has already asked a higher German court to recognize the findings of this new evaluation and order Melissa’s custody returned to her family immediately. “Hopefully, the fact that this case drew so much attention to the way Germany treats home schoolers will cause the authorities to pause before they in the future do something so draconian as the Busekros case,” said Michael Donnelly of the Home School Legal Defense Association.

“There is still a long way to go for home schoolers in Germany, and there are still families that are being treated like this in Germany.”

To contact the mayor:

Mayor of the Town of Erlangen
Dr. Siegfried Balleis
Rathausplatz 1
91052 Erlangen
Fon: +49 [0] 9131 86-0
Fax: +49 [0] 9131 86-26 92
Mail: [email protected]

To write the Busekros family:

Busekros Family
Schallershofer Straße 72a
D-91056 Erlangen

To contact the German embassies in Canada and the United States:

In Canada:

German Embassy
1 Waverley Street
Ottawa, ON, K2P 0T8
Tel.: 613-232-1101 Fax: 613-594-9330
Email: [email protected]

In the US:

German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
(202) 298-4000
The embassy can be e-mailed from its website:

To express concerns to German authorities:

President of the Federal Republic of Germany
11010 Berlin
Telefon: +49 30 20 00-0
Fax: +49 030 20 00-19 99
E-Mail: [email protected]

Angela Merkel
Willy-Brandt-Straße 1
10557 Berlin
Telefon: +49 180 272-0000
Fax: +49 1888 272-2555
E-Mail: [email protected]

Politician Joachim Herrmann
Chief of the CSU Party, also knows the Busekros family personally
Joachim Herrmann
Ludwig-Erhard-Straße 9 a
91052 Erlangen
Telefon: +49 9131- 53 45 38
Telefax: +49 9131- 61 18 40
E-Mail: [email protected]