By Peter J. Smith
UELFELD, Germany, December 21, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A US Baptist missionary family has narrowly avoided deportation from Germany for their commitment to educate their children at home thanks to successful eleventh hour negotiations by home school advocates.
The International Human Rights Group (IHRG) reports that its European Counsel, Dr. Ronald Reichert, convinced German officials to drop a deportation order that would have required Mr. Clint Robinson, his wife Susan and their three children to leave Germany on Thursday for the outlawed practice of homeschooling their children.
“The deportation has been postponed while we continue to negotiate a settlement on the visa and homeschool issue,” Joel Thorton, President of IHRG, told LifeSiteNews.com. “I think they were convinced because Ronald Reichert convinced them that it was best to resolve the issue rather than act rashly.”
Thorton explained that the authorities have been feeling pressure from a number of political fronts as well.
“Ronald is working with administrative bodies in Germany to resolve the issue most immediately. I have met with US government officials who have said they will ask the Germans to permit homeschooling by an American.”
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the Robinsons had sold all their possessions in the United States and relocated to Germany for the purpose of starting a Baptist church on March 2, 2007. However the local authorities knew that the independent Baptist missionaries would educate their children at home, and confirming that this was the case they refused to grant the Robinsons the required residency permit. By mid-August the authorities had denied in writing the Robinsons a visa on the grounds that Germany had to protect itself from “Parallelgesellschaften” or “parallel societies” and gave them 45-days to leave Germany or be “forcibly deported.”
The Robinson family was able to delay deportation after Schulunterricht Zu Hause, a home school defense organization started by HSLDA, filed an appeal with the Administrative Court in Ansbach. Those efforts combined with the latest victory from the IHRG counsel, Dr. Reichert, have given the Robinsons their latest reprieve and time for their advocates to hammer out a compromise.
“We are looking to find a way to keep the Robinson family in the country for at least another year with the right to homeschool at the same time,” Thornton explained. “The Robinson family are looking to plant a church in Germany and need time to begin that process without government pressure. Once we have that done we will work to extend their time or the terms of the visa and the agreement.”
Homeschooling has been illegal in Germany since the days of the Third Reich. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler banned the practice in 1938 in order to indoctrinate all young Germans in the Nazi ideology through the public schools. The Jugendamt or Youth Welfare Office was created by the German Fuehrer in 1939 to supervise and control families politically. The Jugendamt is the chief enforcer of the law and has even seized custody of homeschooled children as in the case of Melissa Busekros, a 15 year old girl snatched from her family for homeschooling, who returned to her family after a 3 month ordeal upon turning 16.
Authorities have dealt increasingly with Germany’s estimated 300-500 homeschoolers in a manner consistent with National Socialist (Nazi) Germany as parents face imprisonment, heavy fines, the state seizure of their children, or are forced to seek asylum for their convictions in neighboring countries.
See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
German Homeschooler Melissa Busekros Home with Family after 3 Month Ordeal
Three More Families Appeal for Help as Germany Continues Crackdown on Homeschooling Families
German Court Places Custody of Yet Another 5 Homeschooling Children with Government’s Youth Office
Authorities Ask German Homeschooling Family to Give up Custody of Other 5 Children
European Human Rights Court Rules State May Deny Parents Right to Home School Their Children