The European Court of Human Rights has issued a ruling supporting a decision by German authorities to demand parents relinquish their children to state socialization in public schools, accompanied by the right of government to remove those children – through methods including police battering-ram assaults on the family home – to make sure that happens.
The stunning verdict comes in the case involving the Wunderlich family, on whose trials WND has reported over the years.
It was in August 2013 that WND’s report on the battering-ram attack grabbed the attention of millions of readers.
At the time, four children, ages 7-14, of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich were forcibly carried out of their parents’ home by police officers. Those cops had arrived while they were homeschooling, and were armed with a battering ram to knock down the front door.
Dirk Wunderlich’s quick actions, in seeing the officers out the window and noticing their attack preparations and then opening the door, prevented the actual physical attack.
But his children were taken by the government, kept in detention for several weeks, and only later returned. But even then the government refused to give parental authority over the children back to their parents.
The Wunderlichs long have fought Germany’s demand that all children submit to indoctrination in public school because of the anti-Christian values taught there. They have argued in multiple court cases over fines and the like that the state schools are, in effect, teaching an anti-Christian faith system to which they do not want their children subjected.
Government officials there have said their Christian values are of no account.
It was a combination of court and social work action against the Wunderlichs in Germany that had authorized police to use force against the family, who were in violation of a law first imposed in Germany under the Hitler regime that requires kids to be in public schools.
The police raid took place at 8 a.m. as the children were beginning their day’s homeschool classes, and observers described it at the time as “brutal and vicious.”
According to officials with the Alliance Defending Freedom International, representing the family, the children were “traumatized” by the government attack on the family, and their only option remaining is to take their case against the government to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.
“We are extremely disappointed with this ruling, which disregards the rights of parents all over Europe to raise their children without disproportionate interference from the government,” said ADF International Director of European Advocacy Robert Clarke.
“Petra and Dirk Wunderlich simply wanted to educate their children consistent with their convictions and decided their home environment would be the best place for this. Children deserve this loving care from their parents. We are now advising the Wunderlichs of their options, including taking the case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights,” he said.
More than 30 police officers and others had been assembled for the assault on the family in 2013.
“The authorities brutally removed the children from their parents and their home, leaving the family traumatized. The children were ultimately returned to their parents, but their legal status remained unclear as Germany is one of the few European countries that penalizes families who want to homeschool,” the ADF reported.
“It is a very disheartening day for our family and the many families affected by this in Germany,” said Dirk Wunderlich, the father of the children, in a statement released by the ADF.
“After years of legal struggles, this is extremely frustrating for us and our children. It is upsetting that the European Court of Human Rights has not recognized the injustices we have suffered at the hands of the German authorities.”
“This ruling ignores the fact that Germany’s policy on homeschooling violates the rights of parents to educate their children and direct their upbringing,” said ADF International Executive Director Paul Coleman. “It is alarming to see that this was not recognized by the most influential human rights court in Europe. This ruling is a step in the wrong direction and should concern anyone who cares about freedom.”
Homeschooling has been surging around the world and is protected in many nations. The eruptions of anti-homeschooling activism that have erupted largely have been in more-socialist countries like Germany, which demands that no children be allowed to learn about “parallel” societies.
In fact, homeschoolers mostly get far superior scores on standardized tests to those attending public schools.
The court ruling adopted the position that socialism is something that governments can demand of their citizens. In fact, it noted that Germany filed criminal charges against the parents in the case.
“The state, in introducing such a system, had aimed at ensuring the integration of children into society with a view to avoiding the emergence of parallel societies,” the group of judges concluded.
The aim, the court said was to “prevent social isolation.”
It concluded that wasn’t changed by the fact that the children “had sufficient knowledge, social skills and a loving relationship with their parents.”
It justified the German government’s plans for violence against the family because social workers did not know those details.
The opinion, significantly, fails to even mention the anti-Christian theologies in Germany’s schools to which the parents objected.
Two years ago the family fought back, going to the international court.
Dirk Wunderlich explained at the time, “Our youngest daughter was only 4 years old when the authorities broke into our home and took our children without warning. She couldn’t stop crying for 11 days. Her older sister hasn’t laughed since this incident. We chose to educate our children at home, because we believe this to be the best environment for them to learn and thrive.”
While Germany’s ban on homeschooling dates back about a century, the nation since then has signed a number of international human rights agreements explicitly providing protections for the rights of parents to direct the education of their children.
It was Adolf Hitler who denounced homeschooling and stated the government’s claim to the minds of children.
“The youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow,” he said. “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.”
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