ADF International

German homeschoolers’ plea for respect of parental rights

More than 30 police officers and social workers stormed the home of the Wunderlich family. 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 remains unclear as Germany remains one of the few European countries that penalizes families who want to homeschool.

“We chose to educate our children at home because we believe this to be the best environment for them to learn and thrive,” said Dirk Wunderlich, the father of the family.

Now, the case has been heard by the European Court of Human Rights, based on whether Germany’s actions breached the right to family as protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. A lower chamber of the Court ruled against the German family, disregarding their right to private family life.

The family now faces another lawsuit, initiated by the same German family judge who had ordered the removal of the children in 2013. The judge has now requested proof of the children’s school attendance despite the European Court acknowledging that it would not be appropriate to remove the children again as “it would have a greater impact on the children than being homeschooled by their parents.”

The family is currently considering bringing the case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, the highest level of the Court.

Children deserve the loving care and protection of their parents. It is a serious thing for a state to interfere with the parent-child bond. It should only do so where there is a real risk of serious harm.

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