Wednesday April 21, 2010

Swedish Officials Set to Review State Kidnapping Case of Homeschooled Child

By Peter J. Smith

STOCKHOLM, April 21, 2010 ( – Swedish authorities will convene soon to decide what to do about seven-year-old Dominic Johansson, who was seized by Swedish police and social workers last year because his parents chose to educate him at home.

The Home School Legal Defense Association reports they have learned that the “Swedish Social Services Committee” has scheduled to meet on April 23 to decide whether or not they will return custody of Dominic to his parents, Christer and Annie Johansson.

In June, the Johannsons watched in horror as police snatched their son off the plane they were taking in order to move to Annie’s homeland of India. Police boarded the plane just one minute before its scheduled take-off and placed Dominic in the custody of social services.

Since that day, authorities have allowed the Johanssons only one-hour visits with their son – once every five weeks.

“Sadly, there has been no other change in the status of 7-year-old Dominic Johansson, forcibly separated from his parents, Christer and Annie, more than 10 months ago,” HSLDA said in a statement. “Dominic continues to be held in state custody in a foster home. His parents are allowed monitored visits with him only once [for an hour] every five weeks. The situation remains one of intense difficulty for the family.”

HSLDA and members of the Alliance Defense Fund have been giving legal advice to Christer and Annie Johansson about legal avenues for getting custody of their son back. HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly, who has been working closely with the case, told last March that they are exploring the possibility of bringing the case before international tribunals. (see coverage)

The home-school legal giant has asked concerned individuals to contact members of the Social Services Committee and ask them to return Dominic to his parents.

Both Christer and Annie were seeking to homeschool Dominic in conformity with the law; because they were leaving for India, they argue, it did not make sense to keep him in the state school. Annie is a citizen of India. According to the Johanssons, school authorities told them they only needed to contact the principal at the local school to supply them with the appropriate study materials for Dominic. However, the principal denied them the materials, had the school board fine them, and then contacted social services to investigate the family.

The whole experience has taken a physical and psychological toll on the parents, who have been separated from their only son.

Christer Johansson spoke with in an interview from Sweden, in which he said that he and his wife have been suffering enormously from the ordeal. He told WND that his wife has been hospitalized repeatedly for symptoms resulting from the shock of separation and that she “gets panicked now and then.”

“I have done what I can get done,” said Johansson. “We are just waiting to get Dominic back. Annie needs her family to be able to get back [her health] at all.”

Johansson said that he and Annie were going to ask the social board if they would return their son to them, but advised other parents facing a similar situation that they should “get a good lawyer” right away.

Last December, the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden rejected the Johanssons’ final appeal, siding with social workers who reportedly insisted that they were protecting Dominic’s “right to education” against his parents.

HSLDA has posted a list of social board officials who will hear the Johansson’s case along with their e-mail addresses and telephone numbers.

A Facebook page also exists to generate support for the Johanssons’ plight.

A petition has also been set up to demand Dominic be returned to his family.

Sweden is considering a bill that would outlaw homeschooling, even for “religious” or “philosophical” reasons. The measure would only permit parents to educate their children at home under “extraordinary circumstances.”

The bill is expected to pass in the Swedish parliament, following a review by the Supreme Administrative Court, and will allow for homeschooling families to face criminal charges.

See related coverage by

Homeschooling to be Criminalized in Sweden

Homeschool Legal Giants Intervene in Sweden State Abduction of Homeschooler

Swedish Government Seizes Child from Home Schooling Family