In an historic case, a Tennessee federal immigration judge ruled recently that a German home school family who fled that country because of persecution would be given political asylum. The family had been fined over $10,000, had their children forcibly taken to public schools, and were being threatened with the removal of their children from the home.
German officials say this is all about compulsory attendance laws and that parents have the option of choosing private schools to prevent “parallel societies.” The reality is that this law is a Nazi-era statute designed to make sure the state – not the parent – has the final say in the education and indoctrination of children. It is not coincidental that it is mostly evangelical Christians who are bearing the brunt of this attack.
Other European countries have more freedom for parents to choose home schooling, although the British Parliament is considering legislation to restrict home schooling, and Swedish officials must give permission and are also considering stricter regulation. In Spain, home schooling is not allowed at all.
In this country a parent’s right to direct the upbringing and education of their children has been considered a fundamental right that can only be overcome by the government when there is a compelling reason and the least restrictive means are used. However, even in the U.S. there are numerous areas in which the government seeks to replace the parents’ decisions with what it determines to be “in the best interest of the child.”
The judge in rendering his decision called the German policy “utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans.” Several legal experts have expressed their opinions that the ruling seems to be in compliance with the guidelines for such cases. The federal officials have announced their plans to appeal this case. One immigration service predicted that they would do so to avoid “offending an ally.”
Home schoolers have been nervous for some time about the Obama administration’s views on parental rights. The appeal of this case seems to imply that they may have the same view as the German government.