German officials did not violate homeschoolers' rights, European court says

Catholic News Agency | 1/11/2019 | Staff
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Strasbourg, France, Jan 11, 2019 / 06:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Two homeschooling German parents who said their parental rights were violated by the enforcement of compulsory school attendance laws did not prevail in the European Court of Human Rights, which unanimously rejected their claims Thursday.

“It is a very disheartening day for our family and the many families affected by this in Germany,” Dirk Wunderlich, who with his wife Petra are the parents of four children, said Jan. 10.

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“After years of legal struggles, this is extremely frustrating for us and our children,” he continued. “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.”

The parents are devout Christians and thought even private schools would expose their children to “unwanted influences,” BBC News reports.

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When the oldest Wunderlich child reached school age in 2005, they refused to register in a school. When they faced several regulatory fines and criminal proceedings for failure to comply with compulsory school attendance, “they accepted the decisions and paid the fines, but did not change their behavior,” the court decision said.

The family lived abroad between 2008 to 2011, and upon their return to permanent residence in Germany also did not register the children.

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In August 2013, a group of at least 20 police officers and social workers raided the Wunderlich home and took away their four children. ADF International, the legal group representing the parents, claimed that the action left the family traumatized.

The children were placed in a children’s home for three weeks. Though they were eventually returned to their parents, their legal status was not clear. The children were enrolled in a school from 2013 to 2014.

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In its Jan. 10 decision, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights said that compulsory school attendance...
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