Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Trial Ordered for German Homeschoolers Sentenced to Prison

Rosemary and Juergen Dudek's jail sentence was overturned on Christmas Eve. However, the family's troubles are not over.

In July of 2008, they were each sentenced to 90 days in prison for homeschooling when a lower court’s sentence of fines totaling 900 euros (about $1,200) for not sending their children to school was appealed.

However, on December 24, a state appeals court overturned the sentence on the grounds that legal errors had been made by the regional court.

“We are relieved and grateful that the appeals court has set aside these harsh sentences,” Mr. Dudek said. “However, we know that this is not the end of the story since new trials have been ordered.”

I wonder if American homeschool families would be as determined to stand up to the government if threatened with prison. I know that when we were first homeschooling, before homeschooling was legal in all 50 states, my husband was pretty adamant that if there were ever any legal issues that he was not willing to go to jail over them. Mr. Dudek said the trial had taught him to overcome the fear of standing up to the German government.

“The latest measures being taken by the government against homeschoolers is
designed to make us afraid and to give up,” he said. “The changes in laws to
make it easier to take away children, and the more aggressive posture of the
Jugendamt in trying to threaten parental custody demonstrate that the
government is trying to intimidate and scare homeschoolers. We must not be
afraid. Fear saps our courage, our strength and our perspective. To win this
fight we must stand firm and trust to the Lord to deliver us.” (HSLDA)

The Germans do not appear to be any closer to relaxing their stance against what they consider to be the formation of "parallel societies" such as could be created when parents teach their children at home away from the watchful eye of Big Brother.

HSLDA continues to work with other organizations to try to help beleaguered
German parents who simply wish to educate their children at home—just as
hundreds of thousands of others do in other parts of the world. To learn more
about HSLDA’s activities and to listen to a Moody prime time radio broadcast
with remarks by Mr. Dudek, please HSLDA’s Germany

1 comment:

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