Posts Tagged 'Armin Eckermann'

Germany’s Continuing Battle Against Home Schooling–the Schimdt Family Story

with Richard Guenther 

Hans and Petra Schmidt live in Bavaria, Southern Germany.  From their home, they have been teaching their children, Josua and Aaron, for 9 years, with great success.  Were they in America this would be considered an appropriate way to educate their children.  Unfortunately for the Schmidt family, they are not Americans.  Since they are Germans and are educating their own children in Germany, the Schmidt family is considered to be violating the law.

To date the Schmidts have been forced to pay nearly 13.000 Euros ($18,300) in home schooling fines.  Like most German home school families, they have a very modest income.  Needless to say, the position of the government against them pushed the Schmidts to their limits.  When the family could not pay all 26 of their fines the government placed a lien on their home.

During this time there were talks with the chief district administrator.  These talks were entered into by the Schmidts in hopes of arriving at some type of settlement that would permit them to finish educating their children at home without being forced into bankruptcy by their own government.  At the same time the children were tested by the school authorities.  Testing both children showed that they have extraordinary academic abilities.  The tests also showed the children to be social competent.  This is critical as the Germans still hold to the disproven belief that home school children are socially retarded.

The oldest son, Josua,, who is 16, was tested at a local high school and scored very high.  As a result, Josua was awarded his high school diploma.  These exams are required of all students upon completion of their last year in high school.  This shows that the Schmidts have done an excellent job of educating their children at home.  As he is through with high school, Josua is no longer subject of the compulsory school attendance.

Aaron, age 14, has just successfully completed an internship at the big Stuttgart zoo. He is still subject to the mandatory school attendance laws. The authorities are attempting to force the parents to place him in school.

At the beginning of this year, the family court set out to take the custody for Aaron from the parents.  The sole reason for this was that the Schmidts continue to home school Aaron, something that is illegal in Germany. Pursuant to this attempt to remove Aaron from the family home legal proceedings began early this year. Aaron is 14 years old.  He is looking to complete his school education in another two years.

Mr. Schmidt has a heart and passion for the disadvantaged.  So he works in a handicap workshop where the handicapped are trained in a vocation. Both parents are  devoted Christians and have it in their hearts to preserve their two boys from the secular, anti-Christian culture in Germany. They believe that sending their boys to school would be traumatic for the whole family.

Working with the IHRG, Armin and Gabriele Eckermann, both lawyers with the German Home School Association SchuzH, are helping develop the legal strategy to challenge this case in the courts.  Johannes Hildebrandt has agreed to help the Eckermanns and is taking the case as it goes into the court of first instance. He is a successful lawyer in family issues and in addition to his law degree, holds a degree in social development of children.  He saw Melissa Busekros returned to her family, defending her successfully in the courts

The International Human Rights Group is standing with these lawyers and the Schmidt family.  We are doing everything in our power to protect this family and see that they are permitted to educate their children according to the dictates of their own beliefs—something that is guaranteed by the German Constitution and the European Court on Human Rights.  We will be there all along the way to stand with them. 

Your prayers are an important part of this battle.  Without your prayers we cannot stand as strong.


Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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