Support the Wunderlich Family and their Right to Homeschool!
What would you do, if your children were taken away because the government disapproves of the way you chose to direct their education and upbringing? In 2013, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich awoke to discover that German police and social workers had come to seize custody of their four children.
Why? Dirk and Petra chose to homeschool their children. Unfortunately, in their home country, homeschooling is illegal. Germany is almost unique in this regard, as most countries in Europe allow parents to assume the traditional role as their children’s educator.
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Dirk and Petra were guilty of taking the educational upbringing of their children into their own hands. Their private lives were interrupted, and their family separated because, as practising Christians, they chose to assume a greater level of engagement in their children’s development.
Germany’s ban on homeschooling dates back to 1919, and represents the legacy of a nation recoiling from waging a nationalistic war. It has since signed several international human right treaties. And yet, it does not allow parents to make basic decisions about their children’s education.
The family brought their case before the European Court of Human Rights to seek justice and see their parental rights upheld. Unfortunately, the Fifth Section of the Court ruled that the Wunderlich family’s right to respect for private and family life, pursuant to Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, had not been violated.
Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International, and legal counsel for the family has responded that the ruling “…disregards the rights of parents all over Europe to raise their children without disproportionate interference from the state. Petra and Dirk Wunderlich simply wanted to educate their children in line with their convictions and decided their home environment would be the best place for this. Children deserve this loving care from their parents.”
Despite the negative ruling, the Court accepted that the actions of the German authorities in taking Dirk and Petra’s children away may have been retrospectively ‘misguided’. The family is now left with the option of referring the case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, the highest level of the Court.
Violation of right to family life
“It is a very disheartening day for our family and the many families affected by this in Germany. After years of legal struggles, this is extremely frustrating for us and our children. It is upsetting that the European Court of Human Rights has not recognized the injustices we have suffered at the hands of the German authorities,” said Dirk Wunderlich, the father of the children.
It is important that we show the German government that we do not agree on restricting the basic right of parents to educate their children and direct their upbringing.
A few weeks after the ruling of the European Court, the family received a letter from a German court challenging the custody of their children yet again. We should not abandon this family, but stand with them.
Their case has already sparked a debate on whether or not German school laws are outdated and should be reviewed.
We encourage everyone to sign this petition in defence of the Wunderlich children who want to be homeschooled. We petition the German government to respect the right of parents to educate their children and direct their upbringing.
Sign this petition now!
We Support the Wunderlich Family