November 23, 2019

Vellacott opposes 1938 German law that chased persecuted home-schoolers to Canada

Following is a press release from a Canadian MP.

Vellacott opposes

1938 German law that chased

persecuted home-schoolers

to Canada

Maurice Vellacott, MP
Saskatoon-Wanuskewin

Vellacott opposes 1938 German law that chased persecuted home-schoolers to Canada

For Immediate Release
March 22, 2010

OTTAWA – A German home-schooling family is seeking asylum in Canada, and they are appearing before the Immigration and Refugee board in Alberta Tuesday to make their case to remain here.

Another German home-schooling family, seeking refuge in the United States, was recently granted permission to remain there. The law that these home-schoolers are being persecuted under is a 1938 piece of Nazi legislation. The law about compulsory school attendance from 1938
(Reichsschulpflichtgesetz) was the first general regulation in the German Reich without exceptions and with criminal consequences in case of contraventions (Habermalz, 2001: 218).

“Canada has a strong legacy of parental rights and home schooling has been an accepted expression of these rights in Canada,” notes Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin). The family has already been in Canada for a little while and the mother is reported as saying that her two sons are thriving in Alberta: “For us, it’s a gift, a real gift to be able to home-school our children.”

Parents have different reasons for choosing the home-schooling option. For these parents, the primary reasons were freedom of conscience and concerns about the medical well-being of their children, reports their lawyer, Jean Munn.

“I commend these valiant parents for the commitment and devotion they have to the best interests of their children,” said Vellacott.

“I hope the Immigration and Refugee Board in Albert gives a favourable hearing to this case,” he added.

(See more information about home-schooling in Germany here:
http://www.hslda.org/hs/international/Germany/201001260.asp)

For further comment, call (613) 992-1966 or (613) 297-2249

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New Study: Home-Educated Canadian Adults Excel

New Study: Home-Educated Canadian Adults Excel

Thursday December 3, 2009
Retrieved 12/7/09 from
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/dec/09120305.html

By Patrick B. Craine

Synopsis
Full Version

Home Education in Canada: A Report on the Pan-Canadian Study on Home Education 2003

LONDON, Ontario, December 3, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new study released yesterday by the Canadian Centre for Home Education (CCHE) reveals that  home-educated adults in Canada excel in all measured areas of adult life,
including education level, religious observance, civic and community  participation, life satisfaction, and income.

The study, entitled Fifteen Years Later: Home-Educated Canadian Adults,  surveyed adults whose parents had responded to a 1994 study on home education.  In total, the researchers collected 226 questionnaires.  Ranging  in age from 15 to 34, the respondents answered questions on a variety of  topics for which Statistics Canada has comparable data from the wider population.

The results were astounding, says CCHE.

The study found that, when measured against the Canadian average,  home-educated adults were more socially engaged and almost twice as likely  to have voted in a federal election. Their average income was higher, with
more self-reliant sources of income, such as investments and self-employment.  In fact, of all respondents, there were no cases of  government support as the primary source of income.

The respondents were happier in their work and about their lives in general.  They also have more varied recreational pursuits.  The study notes, for  example, that the respondents “were much more likely than the comparable
population to have read books and attended concerts of classical music or  theatrical performances.”  Overall, when reflecting on the value of being  home-educated, most felt that it was an advantage in their adult life.

“In terms of income, education, entrepreneurial endeavours, involvement in  their community, and all the other characteristics measured, home-educated  adults not only excel, but also make meaningful contributions to their
communities,” stated Paul Faris, president of CCHE.  “They are the type of  neighbours we all want.”

The full study and a synopsis are available here
http://hslda.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=95&Itemid=156

Home Education in Canada

Synopsis

You can also click here to contact us directly with specific questions related to research and statistics on home education in Canada.

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German Youth Authorities Allow Gorber Children Home ‘Temporarily’

http://www.hslda.org/hs/international/Germany/200808190.asp

Germany

Germany


August 19, 2008

German Youth Authorities Allow Gorber Children Home ‘Temporarily’

In a surprise decision earlier this week, the Youth Welfare Authorities in Germany, the “Jugendamt,” have allowed the remaining five Gorber children to return home until the beginning of September. The five girls have been kept in youth homes for the last eight months with minimal visitation from their family.

The family’s attorneys have been arguing that there is no valid reason for the Jugendamt to retain custody of the girls. Earlier this month, a German family court judge ordered that the Jugendamt retain custody of the school-age children because the judge feared the parents would refuse to enroll the children in school and undergo court-ordered psychiatric examinations.

Mr. and Mrs. Gorber are so pleased that their children are now home with them. A person close to the family reported that the “children have held up well under the circumstances and have not been susceptible to manipulation by the Jugendamt or other children in the homes. This is a real testimony of the strength of the family and the parents.”

Despite Germany’s inhospitable education laws, the Gorbers have homeschooled there for quite some time, motivated by their sincere religious convictions. In January, authorities seized the Gorbers’ seven minor children in an aggressive raid of the family home conducted while the parents were absent. At the time of the raid, Mr. Gorber was visiting his wife, who was hospitalized due to a complicated pregnancy. The seizure was conducted without advanced notice and required authorities to carry off at least one child “kicking and screaming.”

A similar raid occurred in 2007 when the Jugendamt and police authorities seized Melissa Busekros from her home in Erlangen and kept her in foster homes for months with minimal visitation from her family. Melissa escaped from her foster home in April 2007, and is now at home. She is pressing her case against the state for breaching her and her family’s civil rights.

The Gorbers, too, have vowed to fight on until they regain permanent custody of all of their children.

Homeschoolers in Germany remain gravely concerned about recent changes in federal law that have made it easier for the Jugendamt to seize children from families who homeschool. In July, German President Horst Kohler signed a law that made it easier for the Jugendamt to take German children from families where the children were “endangered.” The term “endangered” is not defined in the law, and German Courts have already ruled that homeschooling is “an abuse of parental rights.”

Another homeschool family in Germany, the Dudeks, were sentenced to 90 days each in jail in July for homeschooling their children. The Dudeks, who receive daily letters of encouragement, told HSLDA that “they so appreciate the letters from American homeschoolers. Some days we are quite depressed about the situation in Germany, and then we go to the mailbox and we read a wonderful note of encouragement from an American homeschooling family. Our children love the letters and have already several pen-pals.”

The Dudeks’ attorneys will be filing their appeal of the conviction this week with the state appeals court in the German state of Hesse. The Dudeks are hopeful that their appeal will overturn their conviction. “Sending people to jail because they homeschool is wrong,” says Juergen Dudek. “We are educating our children well. They are well-adjusted and not deprived in anyway. We have again applied for status of a private school in Hesse. We are willing to work with the authorities to come to an understanding how we can educate our children, but we will not compromise on whether we, as their parents, will educate them. It is our duty and responsibility and our conscience will not allow us to give that up.”

Other families have fled Germany under threat of extraordinary fines, threat of jail and the possible loss of custody of their children. Some have fled to Canada, England, New Zealand, the United States and even Iran to be able to homeschool their children.

“Families should not have to choose between their homeland and homeschooling,” said HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly, who coordinates HSLDA’s involvement in Germany, “These families are following their conscience, and Germany is simply out of step to treat parents who choose to educate their own children in this dramatically autocratic way. This kind of behavior by the Federal Republic of Germany is very disturbing. HSLDA is committed to helping persecuted homeschoolers in Germany and calls on state legislators in Germany to take action to change their laws to make homeschooling legal. Homeschooling works and is legal all over Europe—Germany should not be allowed to get away with this kind of repression of a fundamental human right.”

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Government chases homeschool family

Mom, dad now seek help from human rights tribunal

http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=68432
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Members of a homeschooling German family who made a forced move to Austria where the activity remains legal now have fled again – this time to Canada – to escape continuing government actions that now also are the subject of a protest lodged at the European Court of Human Rights.

The case involving Andreas and Katharina Plett is being addressed by Joel Thornton, chief of the International Human Rights Group, who alleges Germany is violating articles 8, 9, 10, 14, and 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights with its persecution of homeschooling families.

The Paderborn family is among several in Germany who have challenged that nation’s Nazi-era ban on parents teaching their children at home. Thornton told WND in the Pletts’ case, one of the government maneuvers gave the authority to determine where the Pletts’ two youngest children live to the Youth Welfare Office.

It happened because of their homeschooling. According to a Brussels Journal report at the time, a plain-clothes policewoman rang the Pletts’ doorbell early one day, and when Katharina Plett opened the door, a team of officers who had concealed themselves forced their way in.

Katharina was able to notify her husband by telephone since he and the children were not at home, and instead of returning they traveled directly to Austria and set up a residence.

However, German authorities continue to try to impose their requirements on the family, since they still own property in Germany, and the Pletts now are challenging not only the authority to decide where the children will live but the other decisions in their case as well.

“About a month ago the family fled to Canada to be together without fear of government officials taking their children,” Thornton told WND about the family.

“Though the court has been unwilling to uphold international law in regards to parents’ rights in educational matters it is our hope that the court will look at the number of families continuing to have problems and decide to take the initiative to enforce the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights that are currently being violated by the German courts,” Thornton said.

The earlier decision came in the now-infamous Konrad case. There, the same court concluded that Germany’s ban on homeschooling – in place since the Nazis reigned – does not violate the convention’s religious rights provision, finding that it was important for the nation to avoid parallel societies created by religious groups.

The new case raises that issue, but several others as well.

“The Plett family has suffered the deprivation of their rights guaranteed under Article 8 of the Convention in that respect for their private and family life has been violated without demonstrated necessity for national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others,” the complaint, filed on Friday, says.

It also alleges violations of Article 9 in that their “religious convictions” have been violated and Article 10 violations involving “freedom of expression, particularly the freedom to impart information and ideas without interference by public authorities.”

Further, the court action alleges Germany is discriminating against them based on their religious convictions and under Protocol 1, Article 2 in that “in the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the state shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.”

“The Plett family is asking this court to overturn the decision of all the German courts and declare that the state took improper custody of their children while exercising their rights. … The Plett family asks this court to clarify that the rights guaranteed under Articles 8, 9, 10 and 14 are not subject to governmental intervention without clear and convincing evidence that homeschooling their children would rise to the level of violating the interferences regulated by the Convention. That is not the case here,” the appeal said.

The action also seeks a cancellation of all fines imposed by Germany and the recovery of all costs.

Thornton told WND the children continue to live with the family only because the state Youth Welfare Office never has exercised its authority to determine where they are required to live. Such situations are not unusual in Germany. However, they create huge complications for families doing any traveling.

The Pletts have their roots in Germany but had been living in Russia before returning. They decided to homeschool after the parents” perceived a negative influence of the public school onto their children.”

It was in 2005 when German authorities ordered decisions about the children’s residence given to the Youth Welfare Office without a hearing. The result was the family’s sudden move to Austria. Their further move came after Germany continued to try to exercise control of the family even while living in Austria.

In 2006, the Strasbourg, France-based court ruled in the Konrad case. In that dispute, Fritz and Marianna Konrad, who argued Germany’s compulsory school attendance endangered their children’s religious upbringing and promotes teaching inconsistent with the family’s Christian faith, were told they did not have a case.

The court said the Konrads belong to a “Christian community which is strongly attached to the Bible” and rejected public schooling because of the explicit sexual indoctrination programs that the courses there include.

The German court already had ruled that the parental “wish” to have their children grow up in a home without such influences “could not take priority over compulsory school attendance.” The decision also said the parents do not have an “exclusive” right to lead their children’s education.

“The parents’ right to education did not go as far as to deprive their children of that experience,” the decision said. “Not only the acquisition of knowledge, but also the integration into and first experience with society are important goals in primary school education. The German courts found that those objectives cannot be equally met by home education even if it allowed children to acquire the same standard of knowledge as provided for by primary school education.”

A website for the Practical Homeschool Magazine noted one of the first acts by Hitler when he moved into power was to create the governmental Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools, and school-related issues.

In 1937, the dictator said, “The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”

WND has reported multiple times on German’s attack on homeschoolers, including earlier this summer when a judge handed down three-month prison sentences for two homeschooling parents.

The sentences for Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek came in Germany’s equivalent of a district court in the state of Hesse, according to a staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association. The group, the premier homeschooling advocacy organization in the world, has been monitoring and helping in the Dudeks’ case since before a federal prosecutor announced his intention more than a year ago to see the parents behind bars.

Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has commented on the issue on a blog, noting the government “has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion.”

Drautz said schools teach socialization, and as WND reported, that is important, as evident in the government’s response when a German family in another case wrote objecting to police officers picking their child up at home and delivering him to a public school.

“The minister of education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling,” said a government letter in response. “… You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers. … 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.”

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