2007 German Horror Tale
Earlier this month, a German teen-ager was forcibly taken from her parents and imprisoned in a psychiatric ward. Her crime? She is being home schooled.
On Feb. 1, 15 German police officers forced their way into the home of the Busekros family in the Bavarian town of Erlangen. They hauled off 16-year-old Melissa, the eldest of the six Busekros children, to a psychiatric ward in nearby Nuremberg. Last week, a court affirmed that Melissa has to remain in the Child Psychiatry Unit because she is suffering from "school phobia."
Home-schooling has been illegal in Germany since Adolf Hitler outlawed it in 1938 and ordered all children to be sent to state schools. … Only some 500 children are being home-schooled in a country of 80 million.
All German political parties, including the Christian Democrats of Chancellor Angela Merkel, are opposed to home-schooling. They say that "the obligation to attend school is a civil obligation, that cannot be tampered with." The home-schoolers receive no support from the official (state funded) churches, either. These maintain that home-schoolers "isolate themselves from the world" and that "freedom of religion does not justify opposition against the obligation to attend school."
Hermann Stucher, a pedagogue who called upon Christians to withdraw their children from the state schools which, he says, have fallen into the hands of "neo-Marxist activists," has been threatened with prosecution for "Hochverrat und Volksverhetzung" (high treason and incitement of the people against the authorities). The fierceness of the authorities' reaction is telling. The dispute is about the hearts and minds of the children. In Germany, schools have become vehicles of indoctrination, where children are brought up to unquestioningly accept the authority of the state in all areas of life.
The situation is hardly better at the European level. Last September, the European Court of Human Rights supported Hitler's 1938 schooling bill. The Strasburg-based court, whose verdicts apply in the entire European Union, ruled that the right to education "by its very nature calls for regulation by the State." It upheld the finding of German courts: "Schools represent society, and it is in the children's interest to become part of that society. The parents' right to educate does not go so far as to deprive their children of that experience."
While it is disquieting that Europeans have not learned the lessons from their dictatorial past — upholding Nazi laws and sending dissidents, including children, to
psychiatric wards, as the Soviets used to do — there is reason for Americans to worry, too. The United Nations is also restricting the rights of parents. Article 29 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that it is the goal of the state to direct the education of children.
In Belgium, the U.N. Convention is currently being used to limit the constitutional right to home-school. In 1995 Britain was told that it violated the U.N. Convention by allowing parents to remove their children from public school sex-education classes.