October 20, 2019

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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German Court Keeps Five Kids Because Parents are Homeschoolers

http://www.hslda.org/hs/international/Germany/200808010.asp

Germany
Germany

August 1, 2008

German Court Keeps Five Kids Because Parents are Homeschoolers

A homeschooling family in Southern Germany spent six hours in a grueling German Family Court session this week with the hopes of regaining custody of their six homeschooled children, who have been held in state custody since January. After the long and confusing session, the Gorbers regained custody of their 3-year-old son. The judge, meanwhile, retained custody of five other Gorber children now being kept in foster care and youth homes pending a court-ordered psychological evaluation of the parents. The court did allow increased visitation for some of the children up from one hour every two weeks that had been permitted since the children were seized in a surprise raid by the youth welfare office (“Jugendamt”) and police.

In January of 2008, Jugendamt and police officials surrounded the German home of the family while Mr. Gorber visited his wife at a local hospital where she had been admitted due to complications from her pregnancy with her ninth child. The oldest son, age 21, and a daughter, age 20, were not taken by the authorities, but all the other children were removed despite their repeated protests.

The siblings reported that the 7-year-old was gripped around the waist by a youth home music teacher, dragged kicking and screaming across the courtyard and thrown into a van. The terrified 3-year-old clung to his 20-year-old sister so tightly that even the police and Jugendamt could not separate them. Both had to be taken to the youth home, where at last the little fellow’s strength gave out and he could be taken into custody.

The children then received psychological exams which all reported that they were normal and well-functioning. Although these evaluations attested to appropriate parenting, the judge indicated that he was unwilling to allow the other children, all of school age, to return home because he did not believe the father’s assurances that he would enroll the children in school.

Someone who attended the six-hour hearing described the scene as “bedlam in the courtroom, without any attempt by the judge to impose discipline. The parties kept interrupting each other and everyone spoke at once.” Some of the children have reported that their court-appointed attorneys said they will fight to keep them in foster care despite the children’s firmly stated desire to return home to their parents.

Many in Europe are critical of Germany’s Jugendamt. Germany has Europe’s highest incidence of removing children from their homes. A recent article in Germany’s Zeitung newspaper showed figures indicating that the removal of children from their homes was up 12.5% this year in Germany while the number of abused children remained the same.

Opponents have accused the child welfare system in Germany of corruption driven by exorbitant payments by the government to children’s homes and foster care providers. This “youth welfare industry” is financed by a 21 billion euro budget. The local operating youth welfare committees include privately owned and for-profit children’s care institutions who participate with legal sanction on the committees with two-fifths of the total vote. No other child welfare system in the world is known to allow this type of intermingling between government and commercial enterprises. Such an intermingling would appear to create a serious conflict of interest.

This is of particular concern to homeschooling families in Germany in light of court decisions and a recent change to the federal youth welfare law that was signed by German President Roland Koch on July 5 of this year. The law, BGB 1666, establishes the standard by which family courts are to determine whether custody of parents can be taken away. The law was changed to make it easier for children to be removed by the Jugendamt when the children are “endangered.” But endangerment is not defined in the law. The highest German courts have ruled that homeschooling is not tolerated because it creates “parallel societies” and is an abuse of parent’s rights. Administrative agencies and courts have stated that the failure to send children to school is by definition “endangerment.”

Until last year, homeschooling families had mostly been harassed with exorbitant fines. This year however, Rosemarie and Juergen Dudek of Archfeldt, Germany were sentenced to three months each in prison for homeschooling. In a previous family court case involving the Dudeks, the judge declined to take away the parental rights of the parents. It was thought that the Dudeks cared for and educated their children too well to justify penal removal of the children under the legal clause “misuse of parental authority.” During the Dudek’s criminal trial the judge ordered a 900 euro fine against the family for not sending their children to school. Not satisfied with this “lenient” sentence, local State Prosecutor Herwig Mueller told Mr. Dudek “you won’t have to worry about paying the fine, because I’m going to send you to jail.” His appeal of the fine resulted in the latest prison sentence for Mr. And Mrs. Dudek.

More homeschooling families have fled Germany as a result of this persecution, as it now appears that family court judges and the Jugendamt are ready and willing to take children away from their parents simply because they are being homeschooled. Nevertheless, “We are greatly encouraged by the thoughts and prayers of American homeschoolers,” said Mr. Dudek in a recent phone conversation with HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly. “It gives us hope to know that there are people who have the freedom to educate their own children at home. We so appreciate the letters and notes of encouragement. These letters help us maintain our focus and in seeking God’s will for our family.”

These cases are drawing attention within Germany and across Europe.

Kathy Sinnott, a European parliament member from Ireland, criticized Germany’s treatment of homeschooling and the way the Jugendamt treat non-German families residing in Germany. In a recent press release, Sinnot said “…Germany’s approach to home schooling compromises this [European law on mobility] and forces families to choose between a job and the best interests of the children. The need for family-friendly employment policies must be recognized throughout the EU. We need to have flexibility in the education of children temporarily resident because of work. There is also an issue around the attitude to non-German families in the German children’s courts. I hope the dialogue between the Commission and the German State will resolve this discriminatory situation.”

A member of the SPD party in Bavaria, Germany also stated in a recent radio interview that that “Imprisonment or fines in this matter are absolutely excessive in my opinion, because homeschooling can provide very high-quality outcomes. This topic is definitely one which we must work through politically. There can be no black-white declarations, but we must discuss this without ideological blinders on.” Although encouraging, it will take more than one or two members of state legislatures to effect the needed change.

Donnelly, during a recent trip to Germany to encourage homeschoolers and to work for change, met with the Gorber family as well as with policy and lawmakers at the European Union and in the German State of Baden Wurttemberg.

“This poor, simple family is being crushed by unbearable pressure from the German state’s police power, primarily because they are homeschoolers,” Donnelly said. “This father of nine, a woodworker, told me how difficult this is and the incredible strain it’s placing on his children, his wife and himself. As longtime homeschoolers, they have irritated the local youth authorities who needed only the pretext of the hospitalization of the mother and other exaggerated claims to seize the children.” Donnelly noted that “while there are some policy makers in some of the states who are willing to take on this important issue of human rights, most couldn’t be bothered. It is going to take increased public awareness and international pressure to confront German Society with this outrageous behavior. Unfortunately it looks like more parents will have to go to jail and more children taken into state custody before German public policy makers wake up and do something. It’s very disturbing that Germany can get away with this kind of behavior with such little public comment by other Western governments.”

HSLDA is committed to working with national and international ministries and associations to support German homeschoolers in their fight to be free from persecution. The right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental human right, and HSLDA is grateful for the support of its members to defend this freedom here in the United States and abroad.

If you would like to send a note of encouragement to the Gorber Family write to them at:

Family Gorber
Max-Mutscheller-Str.2
88662 Überlingen
Germany

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Policeman takes girl to school each day

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4642055a11.html

Policeman takes girl to school each day

By JOHN HARTEVELT – The Press | Monday, 04 August 2008

A Christchurch mother has been prosecuted over her daughter’s truancy in the first Canterbury case before the courts under a new scheme designed to cut wagging.

The mother of the 14-year-old Linwood College student was given a six-month suspended sentence on Thursday in the Christchurch District Court.

If the student is caught wagging again within the next six months, the woman will go back to court and be sentenced again.

Police are so keen to prevent the student going astray again that an officer is taking her to school each morning.

The police district co-ordinator of youth services, Senior Sergeant John Robinson, who is doing the daily pick-up, said the girl had been getting her schooling back on track.

She had told him her relationship with her mother had improved, and she was enjoying being back in school.

“Like any programme, there are plenty that we’ve got hassles with, but currently she’s doing really, really well. I’m exceptionally proud of her,” Robinson said.

The girl’s mother went to work early, and Robinson said he was happy to do the school run to get the girl back in the habit of going to school.

“If it’s what it takes to get her back engaged in school, then that’s great. It’s really, really good,” he said.

Parents have been prosecuted over truant children in the past, but this is the first case to have been brought in Canterbury under a new scheme called Rock On, which has six steps before a prosecution is made.

The girl’s mother was sent two letters from Linwood College. “And then there’s a knock on the door by the police, who serve a letter,” Robinson said.

The district truancy service takes the matter to the school.

“There’s an informal conference held at the school, where some of the agencies get together, along with the school, and discuss what the issues are.”

A further letter was sent informing the mother there would be a family group conference.

The family group conference put in place a series of steps, and when those failed to work the prosecution was made.

“We don’t want to prosecute parents for not having their kids at school, but we also want them to buy in to the process to get their kids ultimately re-engaged back in to school,” Robinson said.

The scheme was designed as a 16-week programme but had dragged on longer, he said.

Linwood College principal Rob Burrough said the student was back at school and doing well.

“She’s not a bad kid; it’s just she hadn’t been turning up to school,” he said. “Sometimes the tough-love approach is the best way because it is a shock to students when mum or dad is going to get prosecuted because they’re not going to school.”

He was delighted with the support of the police in taking the girl to school each day.

“They haven’t just dumped her. I knew he was doing that, and it’s great,” Burrough said.

Linwood is one of six schools in Christchurch trialling the Rock On scheme.

Robinson said further prosecutions were likely, with many students going through the family group conference stage.

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USA – Phyllis Schlafly: The NEA spells out its policies

Things to watch out for in New Zealand:

 

http://eurekareporter.com/article/080727-the-nea-spells-out-its-policies

The NEA spells out its policies

By Phyllis Schlafly

Published: Jul 27 2008, 11:20 PM

The nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association, attracted 9,000 delegates to its annual convention in Washington, D.C., over the Fourth of July weekend. Delegates sported buttons with provocative slogans such as “Gay marriage causes Global Warming only because we are so hot!,” “Hate is not a family value,” “The ‘Christian Right’ is neither” and “Gay Rights are civil rights.”

The delegates passed dozens of hard-hitting resolutions that now become the NEA’s official policy. The resolutions authorize NEA members and employees to lobby for those goals in the halls of Congress and state capitols.

NEA resolutions cover the waterfront of all sorts of political issues that have nothing to do with improving education for schoolchildren, such as supporting statehood for the District of Columbia, a “single-payer health care plan” (i.e., government-run), gun control, ratification of the International Criminal Court Treaty, and taking steps “to change activities that contribute to global climate change.”

The NEA fiercely opposes any competition for public schools, such as vouchers, tuition tax credits, parental option plans or public support of any kind to non-public schools. The NEA strongly opposes designating English as our official language even though such a designation is supported by more than 80 percent of Americans.

The NEA opposes homeschooling unless children are taught by state-licensed teachers using a state-approved curriculum. The NEA wants to bar homeschooled students from participating in any extracurricular activities in public schools even though their parents pay school taxes.

The NEA wants many additional job-creating services and programs to be provided by public schools, such as early childhood education (i.e., baby-sitting for preschoolers). NEA resolutions call for “programs in the public schools for children from birth through age 8” and for “mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance.”

NEA resolutions include all the major feminist goals such as “the right to reproductive freedom” (i.e., abortion on demand); “comparable worth” (i.e., government control of wages according to feminist ideology rather than the free market); full funding for the feminist boondoggle called the Women’s Educational Equity Act; and “the use of nonsexist language,” i.e., censoring out all masculine words such as husband and father.

The NEA even urges its affiliates to work for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA was declared dead by the U.S. Supreme Court 26 years ago.

The influence of the gay lobby is pervasive in dozens of NEA resolutions adopted by 2008 convention delegates. Diversity is the code word used for pro-gay indoctrination in the classroom.

The NEA’s diversity resolution makes clear that this means teaching about “sexual orientation” and “gender identification,” words that are repeated in dozens of resolutions. The NEA demands that “diversity-based curricula” even be imposed on preschoolers.

NEA convention delegates were invited to an open hearing by the SOGI Committee in Room 149A on July 1. In case you don’t know, SOGI stands for Sexual Orientation Gender Identification.

The NEA urges its members to offer “diverse role models” via the “hiring and promotion of diverse education employees in our public schools.” The NEA puts “domestic partnerships, civil unions and marriage” on an equal footing.

The NEA wants every child, regardless of age, to have “direct and confidential access, without notification to parents, to comprehensive health education. That would include things such as learning how to use condoms for premarital sex, as well as social and psychological programs and services.”

The NEA wants public schools to take over the physical and mental care of students through school clinics that provide services, diagnosis, treatment, family-planning counseling, and access to birth control methods “with instruction in their use.” Family planning clinics are called on to “provide intensive counseling.”

The NEA wants all sex-education courses, textbooks, curricula, instructional materials and activities to include indoctrination about sexual orientation and gender identification, plus warnings about homophobia.

The NEA is very generous with taxpayer money spent on illegal immigrants. The NEA not only favors amnesty for illegal-immigrant students, but also in-state college tuition and financial aid to illegal-immigrant college students.

The NEA is strong for “multicultural education,” which the resolution makes clear does not mean studying facts about different countries and cultures. It means “the process of incorporating the values” and influencing “behavior” toward the NEA’s version of “the common good,” such as “reducing homophobia.”

Of course, the NEA supports “global education” to teach “interdependency in sharing the world’s resources.” It’s also no surprise that the NEA adamantly opposes any requirement that schools “schedule a moment of silence.”

Will parents be silent about the radical goals of their children’s teachers?

Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, political analyst and the author of the newly revised and expanded “Supremacists.” Her e-mail address is phyllis@eagleforum.org.

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Home schoolers swap teaching tips

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4633178a7694.html

Home schoolers swap teaching tips

By JOHN HARTEVELT – The Press | Monday, 28 July 2008

Parents who home school their students compared notes on a surge in their number at a gathering in Christchurch at the weekend.

Home schoolers from Christchurch and around the country met in Bishopdale for a curriculum fair and a series of workshops.

National director of the Home Education Foundation Craig Smith said about 50 people attended and visited seminars which covered topics ranging from classical education to how home education could prevent burnout.

Home schooling appealed to many parents because of the “administrative bullying” of teachers and the public education system in general.

“I hear a lot parents tell me my child’s been at school now for three years and they haven’t learned a darn thing,” Smith said.

The number of children home schooled has grown from about 5280 10 years ago to 6500 in July last year.

Home-schooled children must obtain a certificate of exemption from regular schooling.

The Ministry of Education said home-based schooling must meet the same standards as registered schools.

Kathy Duncan said her four children, aged between five and 12, mixed with a lot of other children who were home schooled.

“Certainly our children wouldn’t socialise with 30 other children the same age as them every day but they do have friends they see regularly,” Duncan said.

Home schooling was a a lifestyle choice, she said.

“It’s not just like having school at home … all of life becomes an education. It’s really hard to separate our life from the education.”

Duncan does not have any teaching qualifications but she said she had “a lot of experience”.

Home schooling is most popular on the West Coast, where 1.9 per cent of children are in home schooling.

The Canterbury Home Educators group has 230 members, representing less than 1% of students in the region.

Smith said aspects of the national assessment programme (NCEA) were “anti-intellectual” and the school curriculum needed to get back to basics and cut out political correctness.

Smith did not want any more Government funding because he feared it would take control of home schoolers.

“The ERO (Education Review Office) is sitting in judgment on the way you as a parent relate to your own child,” he said.

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