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German Homeschooling Parents Sentenced to Three Months in Prison

LifeSiteNews.com

By Tim Waggoner

June 19, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The parents of a homeschooling family in the German state of Hesse have each been sentenced to three months in prison for the crime of homeschooling their seven children. 

According to a staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the sentence was issued to Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek after the federal prosecutor, Herwig Muller, said last year that he was dissatisfied with the fines the couple had already paid for homeschooling their children. 

As reported by WorldNetDaily (WND), staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association, Mike Donnelly, was appalled by the decision. 

"Words escape me, it’s unconscionable, incredible, shocking." He then affirmed, "They will appeal of course."

He concluded by summarizing the actions of the prosecutor: "You guys are rebelling against the state. We’re going to punish you."

Homeschooling is illegal in Germany under a law dating back to the Hitler era. Homeschooling families in the country have faced increasing persecution in recent years, with police in several cases physically transporting children to school and even removing one teenager from her parent’s care.

A spokesperson for the German homeschool advocacy group, Netzwork-Bildungsfreiheit, commented on the mandatory public school attendance laws, which deem homeschooling families to be in breach of the state’s criminal code.

"It is embarrassing the German officials put parents into jail whose children are well educated and where the family is in good order," wrote Joerg Grosseleumern. "We personally know the Dudeks as such a family."

WND also reported that Judge Peter Hobbel, who originally imposed the fines on the parents, criticized the school system for denying the requests of the parents to have their "private school" recognized.

In a previous WND article, it was noted that the Dudek’s wrote a letter to the HSLDA regarding a new law that gives German authorities the right of "withdrawal of parental custody as one of the methods for punishing ‘uncooperative’ parents."  The law is essentially enacted when "child abuse" is suspected.  Conveniently, German courts have consistently deemed homeschooling a form of child abuse.

"The new law is seen as a logical step in carving up family rights after a federal court had decided that homeschooling was an abuse of custody," read the letter signed by Juergen Dudek.

In a blog, Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, attempted to defend these new developments, saying the government "has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion."

Arno Meissner, the chief of the government’s local education department, has also promulgated the government’s intolerance of homeschooling families, confirming they will continually rely upon the mandatory school attendance law.

See related LifeSiteNews.com news:

German Homeschooling Family Flees to England After Mayor Attempts to Seize Children
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jan/08010906.html

Action Call as German Homeschooled 15-year-old Sentenced to Child Psychiatry Unit
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/feb/07020502.html

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