(Photo: Home School Legal Defense Association)
Homeschoolers whose children were recently seized by the German government are now not allowed to emigrate to a country that allows homeschooling.
In August, the children of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich were seized at gunpoint by German officials because the Wunderlich's refused to send their children to the public school. In mid-September, the Wunderlichs were reunited with their children, but only after they promised to send their kids to public school.
The Wunderlichs then requested that they be allowed to leave the country so that they could go to a country that will allow them to homeschool. A judge told them that if they left before a December hearing on their case, they would be brought back to Germany and face criminal sanctions. Left with no other option, the Wunderlich children began attending public school on Oct. 28.
"What other choice did we have?" Dirk Wunderlich told the Home School Legal Defense Association. "They had our children. We feel ravaged by the government. We don't want our children in school but we have no choice - we can't leave and if we don't comply they will take our children away. We will make the best of it because we know if we tried to leave, the authorities would separate us and we might never see our children again or for a very long time."
The children appear to taking their new schooling in stride. But, one child complained that their teacher spends too much time explaining things and telling the other students to be quiet. Another Wunderlich kid regretted that he no longer had time to work on his personal learning projects.
Wunderlich said he hopes to be able to leave the country after next month's court hearing, or maybe earlier if an emergency request comes through, so his family can continue homeschooling.
"I think homeschooling is much more effective because you can actually do the work and don't have to lose time on all the other things that go into school," he explained. "We hope with all our heart to get back to homeschooling somehow."
HSLDA is also helping the Romeikes, another German homeschooling family that emigrated to the United States to avoid the persecution that the Wunderlichs are experiencing. The U.S. Justice Department, though, has been trying to deport the Romeikes back to Germany.
The right to determine the education of one's children is not a fundamental right and, therefore, the Romeikes should not be granted political asylum, the Justice Department argued.
HSLDA lost that case in a U.S. appeals court and has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.