Open Letter & Timeline
Open Letter From Grieving Father
by Christer Johansson
I’ve read the Discrimination Law, the Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention, the Swedish Government Third Wave of Implementation of Human Rights and I have no other option but to conclude that our family is being gravely discriminated against by the Social Service on Gotland.
My name is Christer Johansson and I am the father of a bright, beautiful boy that has been broken into millions of pieces by the Social Services in Gotland Kommun. As perhaps you know, Domenic was taken from us in 2009 as we were on our way to India. This happened after a year of harassment and disputes over our right to educate Domenic at home. Once they took Domenic from us, we started a process of hearings and appeals to determine if we were fit parents and if Domenic was to live with us or with a foster family.
What follows is an account of some of the miscarriages of justice and blunt discrimination with which the Social Services approached our case from the very beginning. The social workers presented reports based on inventions and untruthful statements and they were not challenged by the lawyers that were supposed to defend us. Pure gossip was elevated to the status of science while sound statements by psychologists and doctors on the mental and physical health of the family were dismissed.
Just as an example, the Social Board asked the social workers at the beginning of the process about the grounds for taking custody from the parents and placing Domenic in foster care. Social worker Caroline Palmqvist stated that it was “on account of Christer’s mental health.” This was the first time any of us heard that my mental health was an issue. On no occasion before the moment they took my son from me had anybody within the system mention this. Now, I have proved twice and with sound reports from experts, that I do not have a mental health problem. I did suffer the trauma of suffering an earthquake and a robbery that almost took my life and took everything I had. That is different than having a mental disorder.
When mental health could not be pressed harder as a reason for justifying taking my son from me, they accused me of being a drug addict. I said, “Let me go and test myself.” Now in Sweden, to go and test yourself a Social Worker has to make the request. In this case it was the responsibility of Sofie Rosenquist to make such request. She did not do it, and she did not do it repeatedly forcing me to plea with the laboratory in charge of the testing to do it anyway. They did and it came back clean. I sent the results to Sofie Rosenquist who later on testified that I had not taken the test. Despite my complaints nobody in the court system followed up on her statement or on the laboratory.
All of a sudden I ceased being an issue and they focused on the fact that Domenic had been educated at home. It did not seem to matter that we won the case regarding homeschooling before Domenic was taken from us. It did not seem to matter that we have, in fact, registered Domenic in public school in Havdhem. It did not seem to matter that I was also invited to work there as I have been working as a teacher for many years…
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Fall of 2008: The Johansson’s (Christer and Annie) contact the Ministry of Education and after being told that they could homeschool and start the process amidst the obstruction of local school officials. They make the decision of homeschooling base on their plans to move to India in a few months and consider that this will ease Domenic’s (born 2002) transition and adjustment.
January 2009: After being fined and visited by social services on many occasions, Christer Johansson calls for meetings to discuss this matter, to no avail. The authorities decide that Domenic has to go to school.
February 11. 2009: The Child and education department orders the family to pay a fine of 250 SEK per day that Domenic is not at school. The Social Services intensify their pressure on the family. Homeschooling is still the only issue.
May 27th 2009: An action is taking to enforce the payment of the fine (Now 15.000 SKr). The court refused to enforce it because the school year is over – an implicit recognition of the right of the family to homeschool under the law at that time (it became illegal in July 2011). Christer Johansson informs the court of the family intention to move to India on June 26th. There is no court order or any other legal action taken to prevent the Johanssons from moving to India as was their plan.
June 25, 2009: Domenic and his parents are seated on the flight to India. Swedish police take Domenic from the plane. They alleged that there has been an anonymous report on the family (this has never been confirmed). The family cooperates. They are told that some social workers are going to talk to Domenic for a few minutes, they agree to let him go. The social worker takes Domenic from the airport. Annie collapses.
The Social Services agree to place Domenic with his uncle, Christer’s brother, Mike. The parents are told that they will be able to have Domenic back the following Monday. When they go to pick him up, they are told that they have found two cavities, that Domenic seems to be extremely shy and not behaving like a normal kid of his age, and they consider this to be evidence that there is a developmental problem. From here on there is reference to Domenic’s mental health. This time both Annie and Christer collapsed. Due to their physical and emotional reaction the social services decide to not allow them to see Domenic. They finally see Domenic 6 WEEKS later. In Christer’s words “he (Domenic) was broken in small pieces”
August 4th, 2009: First hearing.
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From the Smiths:
Updated 10 December 2011: Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6 click here
Needing help for your home schooling journey:
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling: