Victory for German Home School Family

Zittau, Germany—The IHRG is pleased to announce that the Brause family, a German home school family, that has lived under the cloud of criminal charges for the past couple of years has been redeemed.  German officials accused the parents of criminal child neglect for the home schooling their children.


On December 2nd we received word from our German counsel in this case, Johannes Hildebrandt, that the court and the prosecutor are dropping the charges against Mr. and Mrs. Brause.  This means they no longer face up to 2 years in prison and the potential loss of their children.  The decision of German officials is a huge victory for this family and for home school families in Germany.


Joel Thornton, President and General Counsel for the IHRG, said “we are pleased that the court and the prosecuting counsel asked whether the process can be ended.  This comes after the court received a detailed psychiatric report that there is no psychological harm to the children from home schooling.  The report stated that the children have not been harmed which is evidenced by their exit exams from high school.


“Now the Brause family may choose whether they want to have a sentence of acquittal in a public meeting in court or a document issued that declares the process closed and the charges dropped.


“This is a huge victory for home school families in Germany.  It means that government officials must be more careful when bringing criminal charges against home school families.”


Case History:


Since 2001, Bert Brause and his wife have taught their 8 children at home. Bert has studied Math and will soon be a certified teacher. The Brause’s live on a farm near the


 Polish and Czech Republic borders. Bert wrote a letter to the governor of Saxony asking for permission to home school his children. The state authorities in Saxony tried to force the parents to register their children in the public school. (There are no alternative schools close-by).


The Brause’s received threats and fines. Eventually, the social youth workers and, later, the court-ordered child defendant testified that the children were taught well and that they had a positive impression of them. Regardless of these findings, the Family Court ruled against the parents in Spring 2007. The custody for the school-aged children was partially taken from the parents and given over to the state. Under this ruling the parents had no say concerning school matters and where the children live. The children could be taken by the state authorities anytime. Just before the end of school in 2008 the parents received an ultimatum. The government had registered the children in school. If the children were not sent to school within 3 weeks, the authorities would take action. Regardless of this ruling the children remained in the home under the threat of removal at any time.


Then the state prosecutor ordered a hearing of the parents whom they charge with a criminal offense based on a law that requires intentional harming of a child, punishable with up to 2 years in prison.


The court set a trial date for 24 July 2008.  This was a criminal trial on the charge of intentional child neglect.  This trial was postponed after the IHRG announced its intention to bring in experts from America and England to testify as to the positive results of home schooling there.  The trial strategy also called for international human rights monitors to attend the hearing. 


Criminal charge: Intentional child neglect – Mr. and Mrs Brause were charged with willingly, knowingly preventing their children from going to school. Preventing the child from receiving a school education is considered harmful to the well being of the children.


The two oldest homeschooled children, aged 18 and 16, completed their public school exams successfully. Being homeschooled, they took advantage of the school law which permits “school exams for external students”. The Brauses want a regular school diploma for all their children so they can attend university after high school. They clearly informed the school authorities about their vision for their children.


Mr. and Mrs. Brause are Christians and homeschool their children for reasons of parental responsibility before God and the law. They chose to home educate their children for their best interest.


The IHRG will continue to work with the Brauses and other German home school families to make sure they can return to a normal life, home schooling their children as they have from the beginning of their children’s schooling.



1 Response to “Victory for German Home School Family”

  1. 1 scatty 11 December 2008 at 3:24 pm

    I hope that the Brauses choose the option of a court case with acquittal. This will be much higher profile than just having the charges dropped, which can benefit other homeschoolers in Germany. Also, as far as I know, an acquittal is more proof of innocence than just having charges dropped (or maybe I am confusing this with something else).

    Congratulations to the Brauses and everyone who assisted them and I must say I admire the parents for their tenacity in not giving into the state (it must be quite scary, not knowing if your children are going to be removed).

    This is a real slap in the face (with a wet herring 😉 )for the German authorities. Their strategy of bringing criminal charges really backfired on them. In such cases, judges are forced to look at the evidence produced by the defendants, whereas in a case where the state is being taken to court (such as the Neubronner family’s), they can ignore such evidence.

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