Dirk and Petra Wunderlich have finally been granted custody of their children again by the German courts. Now that the family is back together they plan to continue homeschooling. Based on recent court rulings, Dirk Wunderlich told HSLDA he does not fear the state will seize their children again, but “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”
He is absolutely correct. In a civilized country, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
In a civilized country, the government would not be stealing children from an otherwise perfectly normal, loving family, simply because they chose to educate their own children. In a civilized country, the government would not impose any fines on a homeschooling family, let alone fines as burdensome as those Mr. Wunderlich anticipates, not to mention the very real possibility of jail time.
The fact is, it was a moral imperative that the German state return custody of the Wunderlichs’ children to Mr. and Mrs. Wunderlich. But the fact remains that there is a lot of work yet to be done to ensure that Germans who claim to live in a free, modern society actually get to enjoy freedom. As of now, the German state should still be hanging its head in shame for its persecution of homeschooling families.
Having said that, I must admit that, personally, were I in the Wunderlichs’ shoes, the second my family was back together, I would pack everyone up and flee. I wouldn’t stay in Germany for another minute, though I treasure the time I’ve spent there and am proud of my German heritage. They’ve tried this before, though, only to have German authorities convince French authorities to take their children away back in 2009.
The Wunderlichs certainly are brave. And if they are going to stay and fight Germany’s government, the rest of us need to support them in every way we can. They’re fighting a very uphill battle against a codified ideology which says “parallel societies” created by other forms of schooling cause, get this, “intolerance” in the country as a whole. This type of intolerant thinking is what led Germany to its horrific past and must be excised from its modern law. Germany cannot honestly call itself a free country until it allows parents the basic human right to direct their children’s education.
(Photo credit: Mike Donnelly)