There are many laws instituted during Hitler’s Third Reich that are still in place today. One of these laws that is being actively enforced is related to schooling. In Germany, children are considered the property of the state, giving parents few rights when it comes to instilling their values.
Under Hitler’s leadership, the NAZI regime instituted a law requiring all children to attend formal education, effectively outlawing the practice of homeschooling. The reasons for this law are obvious. Hitler wished to indoctrinate children in the principles of NAZIsm and limit the ability of parents to instil opposing views. Subsequent German governments have elected to retain these laws, no doubt for similar reasons.
In Germany it is illegal to homeschool, and this law is actively enforced. Parents who refuse to send their children to formal schools are severely punished. The penalties are three-tired. First, parents face large fines. Payment of the aptly name Bussgeld (literally ‘repentance money’) fines implies an admission of guilt, making parents reluctant to pay. If parents continue to homeschool their children after being fined, the next step is for the father’s of these children to be imprisoned.
Finally, if the children are still not enrolled in formal education, these families face the loss of their children. That’s right, children are being removed from perfectly loving, non-abusive homes simply because the family holds different beliefs from the state and chooses to educate their children accordingly!
And this abomination doesn’t just happen to parents who homeschool. Eight Christian fathers have been sentenced to prison simply for refusing to allow their elementary school age (that’s age 6-12 for the non-yanks) children to attend sex education classes or to perform in a play entitled ‘My Body Belongs to Me’ which informs young children how to engage in sexual intercourse. The children have not been removed from school, merely from a single class that their families felt was inappropriate.
These laws, and the way they are enforced, are incredibly wrong. They impinge on the parents’ rights to educate their children as they see fit, and to instil their own religious, moral and political values. They impinge on the rights of the children to a loving, caring home with their families, and to choose the education model that suits them.
Is it because this is not a fashionable or ‘mainstream’ human rights abuse that no one seems to care? Or is it because this is a western government and not some third world totalitarian regime? We should ALL be concerned about this, because if this practice proves successful, our own governments may very well follow suit.
Here’s what the United Nations has to say on the subject:
“62. According to reports received, it is possible that, in some Länder, education is understood
exclusively to mean school attendance. Even though the Special Rapporteur is a strong advocate
of public, free and compulsory education, it should be noted that education may not be reduced
to mere school attendance and that educational processes should be strengthened to ensure that
they always and primarily serve the best interests of the child. Distance learning methods and
home schooling represent valid options which could be developed in certain circumstances,
bearing in mind that parents have the right to choose the appropriate type of education for their
children, as stipulated in article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights. The promotion and development of a system of public, government-funded
education should not entail the suppression of forms of education that do not require attendance
at a school. In this context, the Special Rapporteur received complaints about threats to
withdraw the parental rights of parents who chose home-schooling methods for their children.”
The following articles are relevant to this topic (though the list is far from exhaustive!):
- Guest Post: Tilting at Windmills…A German Homeschooling Mom Talks About Challenges Under Nazi Laws (unconventionalconservative.freeq.com)
- U.S. Department of Justice arguing that homeschooling is not a right (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
- Our Homeschool rights may be impacted by German homeschool case (home4schooling.wordpress.com)
- Do Parents Have a Right to Homeschool? (education.com)
- A Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling (education.com)