Homeschooling Archives

German Govt. Offers Homeschoolers a Deal

Give us the rest of your kids, and we’ll call it even.

German authorities who sent 15 uniformed police officers to take custody of a 15-year-old girl who committed the crime of being homeschooled now have suggested a solution that, in their minds, would “resolve” the situation: the parents should give up custody of their other five children.

The situation involving Melissa Busekros has been in the headlines ever since the beginning of this month, when the officers arrived at her parents’ home with a court order allowing them to take her into custody, “if necessary by force.”

“Melissa’s father, Hubert Busekros, said he and his lawyer were offered a compromise this week that they could not accept,” the [Homeschool Legal Defense Association] said. “The authorities wanted the Busekros’s to give up custody of their other five children in order to resolve this situation. Hubert said the authorities are considering doing psychiatric exams on the other five children in order to implicate Hubert and his wife as unfit parents and thereby break up the family.”

Such actions, the homeschool organization said, are “an outrage.”

“There are approximately 40 other cases pending in Germany [against homeschoolers],” the HSLDA said. “Many homeschool families have fled to Austria or another nearby country where homeschooling is legal. The German government is persecuting these innocent families without mercy. The German Embassy has indicated they cannot allow ‘parallel cultures.’ Christian homeschooling is a ‘parallel culture’ that Germany does not want.”

As always, some of the best updates can be found at the blog “Principled Discovery”.

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German Homeschool Parents Get Visiting Rights

Dana at “Principled Discovery” is keeping close tabs on the Busekros family situation in Germany. She has found out that Melissa’s parents have now been told where she is and can visit her. For further developments, keep an eye on Dana’s page dedicated to news on this situation.

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German Homeschool Student Hidden Away

According to CBN, Melissa Busekros, the German homeschool student taken to the nearby psych ward for alleged “school phobia”, has been taken to an unknown location by the German government. The state is not telling the parents where she has been taken.

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German Homeschool Student Sent to Psych Ward

Since homeschooling is outlawed in Germany, if you do it you should expect the government to get perturbed. However, here’s the story of a 7th grader sent to Child Psychiatry Unit of the local clinic and removed from her parents’ custody over it. Seems quite an overreaction.

In summer 2004, Melissa was told that she would have to repeat the 7th grade at the Christian Ernst Gymnasium (a high school where one can obtain the Abitur, the highest German high school diploma) due to her bad grades in math and latin. The situation in the class played no small part in creating this state of affairs – the high noise levels and cancelled classes prevented her from receiving the educational assistance she needed during school hours. As Melissa had good grades in all the other subjects, repeating the whole year would be mostly a waste of her time, as well as the fact that she would now be in a class even more problematic than the previous year’s. Thus, it was decided by Melissa and her parents that she would be tutored individually at home to meet her specific needs. At her own wish, Melissa only took part in Music and sang in her school choir. The school and the local school authorities were not satisfied with this solution, and consequently expelled Melissa from the school, allocating her to the local Hauptschule (the lowest in the German three-tier high school system).

So the parents only took her out of public school due to her special needs, trying to avoid the wasted time of going through the one-size-fits-all repeating of an entire grade. The only homeschooled in response to an issue with their daughter. This is not a family that has completely avoided the public system; they have simply responded to the specific issues with their child. Shouldn’t parents be allowed to do that. Not in Germany. The state stepped in, though I’d say “overstepped”.

On Tuesday 30th January just after 7am, Mrs Busekros and her children – Mr Busekros had already left for work – were startled by the appearance of the judge of the Family Court,social workers and police officials who demanded that Melissa, now aged 15, be handed over to them immediately. They had as authorisation a decision by the Erlangen Court (case no. 006 F 01004/06) of the 29th of January. It stated “The relevant Youth Welfare Office is hereby instructed and authorised to bring the child, if necessary by force, to a hearing and may obtain police support for this purpose.”

Melissa was brought into the Child Psychiatry Unit of the Nuremberg clinic and was subjected to an interrogation in the presence of the specialist Dr. Schanda. After this interrogation, about three and a half hours after she was coerced into the clinic, Melissa was returned home. Her relieved parents and her five younger siblings, who didn’t know when they would ever see Melissa again, as well as Melissa herself didn’t know that the worst was still to come.Melissa (right, top) and her familiy [sic].

On the afternoon of the 1st of February, the judge of the Family Court, representatives of the Youth Welfare Office, along with fifteen police officers, marched up to the Busekros home, to haul Melissa off to the Child Psychiatry Unit of the Nuremberg clinic. The judicial decision authorising this also removed Melissa from her parents’ custody, according to her father, Hubert Busekros.This treatment was justified by the psychiatrist’s finding, two days previously, that she was supposedly developmentally delayed by one year and that she suffered from school phobia. The fact that the less than optimal testing environment and the unexpectedness of the tests could have impacted on Melissa’s performance were not taken into account in this decision. It is not known when Melissa’s parents and siblings will be able to see her again, as the official approach in cases of “school phobia” is to completely prevent the “patient” from having any contact with those closest to him or her, as such contact supposedly enables the phobia.

I guess the state’s solution to “school phobia”, assuming that’s even a valid diagnosis, is to put her back in there. Never mind that, but for bad grades in two subjects, she had done just fine in school, despite this “phobia”. No, the government–the Village, so to speak–knows better than the parents.

See also: CBN report and an interview with the father in German (click here for the Google-translation to English).

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A good ending to this episode.

A campaign of telephone calls and e-mails from American homeschoolers is being credited with convincing legislators in France to withdraw a plan that would have made such home instruction efforts there illegal, according to the Home School Legal Defense Fund.

“Thank you so much for your calls and e-mails to the French Embassy,” an alert from the organization said. “In an incredible turnaround of events, the sponsor of the restrictive amendments which would have outlawed homeschooling has withdrawn his amendments.”

An earlier alert had gone out just a few days ago, noting that a “draconian” plan had been proposed in the French parliament that would shut down homeschooling across the nation.

(Story continues below)

The specifics would be that “no parent would be allowed to homeschool unless they showed that the health or handicap of their child makes it necessary for him or her to be taught at home.”

Even if a family qualified under such restrictions, the HSLDA said the proposal would have required the family to submit to a home visit by a government official each year, and their curriculum would have to come from the “National Center of Correspondent Teaching” or from an approved source.

Once again, the failing wished to regulate the successful

French education officials earlier told lawmakers that 80,000 children start secondary school without really knowing how to read, write or count, and that is one of the main reasons for “parents who decide to homeschool their children.”

And, of course, the catch phrase for this almost-loss of freedom was one you’ve heard before and will hear again. It’s the same in any language. (Emphasis mine.)

“The French Minister of the Family, Philippe Bas, vocally opposed several articles of this huge bill entitled ‘Protection de L’Enfance,’ which means for “Protection of the Children,'” [Senior Counsel Christopher] Klicka wrote. “He specifically opposed the sections regulating and essentially prohibiting homeschooling, saying in the French parliament: ‘As they are, I am not favorable to these amendments [numbers 127 and 128], I find them too restrictive…'”

“We want to force you to use an inferior system for the children.” Once again, good intentions from the Left trump actual results or actions.

In Germany, where homeschooling is illegal, one homeschool advocacy group got quite the threatening letter from their government.

That threat from a state education official was reported in an English translation at the website.

“The Minister of Education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling…,” said a government letter in response to a request for consideration for a family whose children were taken to school by police.

“You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers on the basis of paragraph 86 of the education law as a measure of the execution of authority. It is known to the ministry of education that primary school students can be particularly burdened by the related contradiction between the norms of the parent-house and that of the public school through such forced escorts.”

Want a real chill up your spine? Listen to the government’s proposed solution to the problem.

In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement.

(Emphasis mine.) Besides the veiled threat, the blogger notes the irony.

It is interesting that in a state whose constitution is dominated by religious language and quotes the necessity of building Christian character, as well as guaranteeing the natural right of parents to have a say in the education of their children AND religious freedom, that the state would specifically mention that they are working to “bring the religious convictions of the family in line” with the goals of the state.

But as we know here, religious influence and language in a founding document is easily ignored and cheerfully misinterpreted when it interferes with greater governmental power.

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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Regulate ‘Em

PBS did a story about homeschooling last Wednesday. My favorite quote from the transcript is this, in response to a professor suggesting that homeschooling get “good regulations” applied to it:

Mr. [Bruce] SHORTT [author of “The Harsh Truth About Public Schools”]: I think it’s ironic that someone with an obviously authoritarian agenda is attempting to lecture others, and unfortunately education seems to be one of those areas in which the failures astonishingly insist upon trying to regulate the successful.

An interesting statistic that they mention is that the number of homeschoolers in the country is growing at a rate 10 times that of the general school-age population. People are fleeing the government-run schools in droves, and it’s the government that thinks it should regulate those alternatives.

Instead of figuring out what’s wrong, they seek to regulate what’s working. And they’d never let you keep your own money–directly or in the form of vouchers–to help you out. That’s government at work.

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Christians and Government Schools

From LaShawn Barber:

I feel for Christians who can’t afford private schools and for whatever reason aren’t equipped to homeschool. I don’t believe in fighting the government for piecemeal concessions like “prayer in schools.” Children don’t need permission to pray. It is a private matter that can be done without formalities and protests, which in my view cheapen and obscure the whole purpose of prayer.

At the same time, I do believe taxpaying parents have a right to complain and seek change in government schools. I just don’t think it’s worth the effort for Christians to get themselves worked up over problems in a corrupted, Democratic party-controlled (teachers unions), monopolized, government propaganda machine like the public school system.

She also poses 3 questions for readers to answer.

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German Homeschoolers Update

In the case of homeschoolers in Germany, previously covered here and here, the kids are now being forcibly carted off to public school.

A Nazi-era law requiring all children to attend public school, to avoid “the emergence of parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions” that could be taught by parents at home, apparently is triggering a Nazi-like response from police.

The word comes from Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit, or Network for Freedom in Education, which confirmed that children in a family in Bissingen, in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, have been forcibly hauled to a public school.

“On Friday 20 October 2006 at around 7:30 a.m. the children of a home educating family … were brought under duress to school by police,” the organization, which describes itself as politically and religiously neutral, confirmed.

A separate weblog in the United States noted the same tragedy. noted that the “three children were picked up by the police and escorted to school in Baden-Wurttemberg, with the ‘promise’ that it would happen again this week.”

The Network for Freedom in Education, through spokesman Joerg Grosseluemern, said the Remeike family has been “home educating their children since the start of the school year, something which is legal in practically the whole of the (European Union).”

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Bullet-proof Books

Now here’s an idea for all those previous-edition schoolbooks.

With school shootings a growing concern across the country, a candidate for state superintendent of schools in Oklahoma is running on a platform of defense.

His idea? Storing old textbooks beneath the desks of all public school children for use as shields from gunfire.

In a videotaped experiment, Bill Crozier even went so far as to test various books and various firearms.

Crozier, a Union City Republican challenging incumbent Democrat Sandy Garrett, said he would put thick used textbooks under every desk for students to use in self-defense.

Crozier’s experiment began with shots fired at a calculus textbook from an AK-47 Russian-style assault rifle. The shot penetrated two textbooks at once. Shots from handguns were generally stopped by thick books.

And people suggest that kids who get homeschooled aren’t getting socialized. Well, they’re wrong, but even if they were right, they’re also not getting shot at.

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Future Imperfect

This sounds like the title of a bad sci-fi flick, and the following sounds like an overused plot–on the run from government compulsion–but it’s happening today in Germany. They don’t trust their citizens to do what’s best for their childrens’ education, even the highly qualified ones.

Hamburg- A German couple who are determined to educate their six children entirely at home have fled the city of Hamburg after the father, Andre R, 44, was jailed for a week for refusing to enrol his offspring in a public school. The R family are evangelical Christians who believe that public schools are a bad moral influence on children. Father R has a university degree in teaching, so he thought he could teach his five daughters and one son their reading, writing and arithmetic at home.

But the couple have hit a brick wall with German school authorities, who say they will apply the full power of the state until the R family yields to compulsory-education laws.

In February, Andre R and wife Frauke, 39, were hauled into court and fined 840 euros (1,090 dollars) for defying education laws. This month, five police showed up at the family’s rented, suburban row- house and hauled Andre R off to the Hamburg city prison.

Andre R refused to give in, so after a week among murderers and drug dealers, he was released and the authorities tried a new tack.

Officials last week began fetching the children each morning from the R home and taking them to school. Custody of the children is to taken away from the parents and the children will become wards of the state.

On Monday, no one answered when officials came knocking at the door of the R home.

Armin Eckermann, president of the German Home-Schooling Association, who is advising the family, said, “They have left Hamburg.” He declined further details.

Read the rest of this entry

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