September 22, 2023

Victory for Brazilian Homeschoolers

Exams were ordered by a local court in an attempt to determine if a
homeschooling family had committed the crime of “intellectual
abandonment”. Their sons passed them all.

MINAS GERAIS, Brazil (LifeSiteNews) – In a surprise victory against government officials who sought to prosecute a homeschooling family for refusing to participate in the public school system, David and Jonatas Nunes have passed tests proving a high level of knowledge in a variety of subjects, including history, the natural sciences, the arts, sports, computing, and mathematics.

The tests given to the Nunes children were so difficult that public school teachers admitted that they could not pass them. The two boys, aged 14 and 15, had only one week to study for several of the tests, which were announced only a week in advance.

The exams were ordered by a local court in an attempt to determine if the Nunes had committed the crime of “intellectual abandonment”, which could have resulted in a heavy fine, and possibly jail time for the two parents, as well as loss of custody of their three children.

While the boys were told well in advance they would be tested on mathematics, geography, science, and history, they were informed only one week before the test date that they would also be tested on Portuguese, English, arts, and physical education, including questions about the history of handball, basketball, soccer, and other sports.

Despite the short time they were given within which to study, both children passed their tests, David scoring 68% and Jonatas 65%, according to Cleber Nunes, the children’s father. Although the government has not yet rendered a verdict on the scores, the minimum passing grade in Brazilian schools is 60%.

“The tests were very difficult,” Nunes told LifeSiteNews. “There were questions that are given in entrance exams in the big universities. In addition, we were surprised with the addition of four subjects, one week away from the exams. They studied a lot in order to assimilate all of the material.”

“For me, the process by which they passed was very strong evidence that they are, in fact, learning to learn,” said Nunes.”They studied a majority of the subjects alone. We had the help of a mathematics teacher. They studied the rest of their subjects on their own. I gave them very little guidance. That’s the principle of the method that we use.”

Nunes says that he now wants public school students to take the same tests his children did. He says he is certain that they would not come close to passing, and points out that on international tests Brazilian students produce extremely low scores.

The 2007 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which compares student performance in 57 countries, gave Brazil well below-average scores in mathematics, reading, and science. On its own Index of Basic Education Development (IDEB), Brazil’s public schools score between 3.5 and 4.2, depending on the grade level.

“It’s interesting that if these same tests were given to public school students, the vast majority would not pass them,” said Nunes, who noted that if failing such tests is to be regarded as a crime, “then the government itself would be condemned since their agencies admit the total failure of the educational system that they are requiring our children to attend.”

The Nunes’ victory comes after a year and a half of struggles with Brazilian government authorities, who interpret existing laws to mean that people cannot educate their children at home. The Nunes say they removed their children from the public school system because of the low standards and immorality that pervades the system.

Although David and Jonatas Nunes had already passed law school entrance exams at the age of 13 and 14, the results were insufficient for local government authorities, who threatened to deprive their parents of custody and attempted to levy a steep fine. The Nunes say they have been fighting the case with the help of pro-bono attorneys.

German Court Keeps Five Kids Because Parents are Homeschoolers


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
88662 Überlingen

Dudek’s go to Jail-What can we do?


Dudek’s go to Jail

Its been splashed all over the papers in Germany, Mr and Mrs Dudek are going to jail for 3 months each, to be served consecutively so that their 7 children (the youngest is 1 year old) are not without care.They are being called hard and fast truants.

I simply do not understand!

Surely there are real truants that the State could go after? If they could keep track of them!

How can a free society incarcerate parents who are exercising their rights to love and care for their own children by educating them at home as the children have been since their birth?

Where will it all end?

How can a country suppress free thinkers (homeschoolers) and then revel in the innovations that other ‘free thinkers’ in science and technology, design and automation bring?

No doubt this family will need a lot of physical, financial, and emotional support and encouragement over the next 6 months. What will this separation do to the family dynamics? What has the State really done?

Lets face it, its hard enough for one at-home parent to survive until the end of the day (when the other usually comes home) with 1 or 2 children, let alone live this way for 3 months a piece.

Please do put pen to paper and do either of 2 things:

1 Write to the Dudeks in support

Familie Dudek
Freiderichstr No. 6
37293 Archfeld

2 Write to the officials in protest

[State Education Ministry]
Hessisches Kultusministerium
Mrs. Karin Wolff
Luisenplatz 10
65185 Wiesbaden

[State Prosecutor]
Herwig Mueller
Frankfurter Str. 7
34117 Kassel

[Education Authority Director]
LSAD Arno Meißner
Staatliches Schulamt für den Landkreis Hersfeld-Rotenburg
und den Werra-Meißner-Kreis
Rathausstraße 8
36179 Bebra

Tel: 06622/914-131
Fax: 06622/914-119

And to the German Ambassador in New Zealand:

Ambassador Jörg Zimmermann



Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
90-92 Hobson St
6011 Wellington
Tel.: +64 4 473 6063
Fax: +64 4 473 6069

Would be great if a number of us wrote to the Embassy here in New Zealand as well. Mention some positive things about your home educating experience and plead for the Dudek family and other home educating families in Germany.

More from 7doves

Anyone wanting to follow the situation with homeschoolers in Germany can bookmark

If at all possible I would still ask people to write to the authorities in this particular area about this particular case, as my experience writing to our rather removed German Embassy in New Zealand is that it has little clout (cc it by all means to them though).

‘Winning’ the right for parents to educate their children at home needs to happen on a State by State, case by case basis.

For those who read German the new German Homeschoolers Webring may be interesting


Parents sent to jail for homeschooling

Parents sent to jail for homeschooling
‘Words escape me, it’s unconscionable, incredible, shocking,’ says attorneyBy Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A mother and father who have been homeschooling their children each have been ordered by a German judge to serve three-month prison terms after a prosecutor said he was unhappy with fines the family paid and he wanted the parents jailed.

The sentences for Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek were announced in Germany’s equivalent of a district court today 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.

“Words escape me, it’s unconscionable, incredible, shocking,” HSLDA staff attorney Mike Donnelly told WND after he got word of the sentence. “They’ll appeal of course.”

He said the prosecutor’s agenda is clear, with the mindset: “You guys are rebelling against the state. We’re going to punish you.”

Donnelly said work was begun immediately to pursue an appeal through the court system in the German state.

He described the sentences as “breathtaking.”

It was just a year ago when WND reported the prosecutor, Herwig Muller, appealed a lower court’s imposition of fines against the Dudeks.

The prosecutor said at the time he would demand jail sentences of three months each for the parents. Muller also said he would not permit the case to be resolved with probation for the parents.

A newspaper reporter in Hesse, Harald Sagawe, said the parents previously paid fines because “they did not send their children to school, for religious reasons.”

He continued, “The parents, Christians who closely follow the Bible, teach their children themselves. Two years ago the court had also dealt with the Dudeks. That case, dealing with the payment of a fine, had been dropped.”

Judge Peter Hobbel, who imposed the fines, also criticized school officials for refusing to answer the family’s request for approval of their “private school.”

Arno Meissner, the chief of the government’s local education department, said he would enforce the mandatory school attendance law against the family, and he said he resented the judge’s interference.

“His duty is to make a judgment when the prosecutor brings a charge and to stay out of administrative matters,” Meissner said at the time.

The attitude is typical of some officials in Germany, where homeschooling has been stamped on since the Nazi era, critics say.

Practical Homeschool Magazine has 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.”

Joerg Grosseleumern, a spokesman for the the Netzwork-Bildungsfreiheit, a German homeschool advocacy group, said in Hesse a family’s failure to follow the mandatory public school attendance laws violates not only administration regulations but the criminal code.

“It is embarrassing the German officials put parents into jail whose children are well educated and where the family is in good order,” he wrote in an earlier alert about the situation. “We personally know the Dudeks as such a family.”

Officials in Hesse have said not even the family’s efforts to move out of the region would halt their prosecution.

HSLDA officials estimate there are some 400 homeschool families in Germany, virtually all of them either forced into hiding or facing court actions.

Just weeks ago, WND reported the Dudeks warned about a new German federal law that also gives family courts the authority to take custody of children “as soon as there is a suspicion of child abuse,” which is how the nation’s courts have defined homeschooling.

“The new law is seen as a logical step in carving up family rights after a federal court had decided that homeschooling was an abuse of custody,” said the letter from Juergen Dudek to the HSLDA.

The letter said local “youth welfare” offices’ new authority includes “withdrawal of parental custody as one of the methods for punishing ‘uncooperative’ parents.”

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.”

In recent years Germany has established a reputation for cracking down on parents who object, for reasons ranging from religious to social, to the nation’s public school indoctrination of their children.

WND has reported several times on custody battles, children being taken into custody and families even fleeing Germany because of the situation.

One of the higher-profile cases on which WND has reported was that of a teen who was taken by police to the psychiatric ward because she was homeschooled.

The courts ruled it was appropriate for a judge to order police officers to take Melissa Busekros, 15 at the time, into custody in January 2007.

Officials later declined to re-arrest her after she turned 16. She was subject to different requirements and simply fled state custody and returned to her family.

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