20007 German horror tale: homeschoolers imprisoned


Richard Moore

Background, from p. 79 of my book:

        The King of Prussia was the first to put compulsory schools
        into place and to make it stick. His theory, attributed to
        the German philosopher Fichte, was that by forcing children
        to attend school at a young age they would become more loyal
        to and afraid of the power of the state than they would be
        loyal to or afraid of their parents. Additionally, the King
        wanted soldiers who didn¹t question their orders but
        immediately did what they were told. So the Prussian school
        system instituted a system of ³no interruptions allowed.²
        Children could not even ask a question about the topic under
        discussion unless they first asked the question of, ³May I
        ask a question?² by raising their hand and being called on.
        In this way they became ³properly socialized² to respect and
        not question authority figures.
            The King, however, didn¹t want his own children to be
        subject to such a treatment. They, after all, would one day
        become the rulers of the country. They¹d be the leaders, and
        instead of follower-skills would have to have the skills of
        leadership, creativity, and independence. So he or-dered the
        creation of a second, parallel public school system. While
        the first system was called ³the People¹s School²
        (Volkshochschule), the second was to be the place where
        true education would take place. Recognizing this, it was
        called simply ³the Real School² (Realschule). Ninety three
        percent of students would attend the People¹s School, and
        the seven percent who represented the elite of the nation
        and would be its future business and governmental leaders
        would attend the Real School.
        ‹Thom Hartmann, excerpted from The ³Real² School Is Not Free,

Original source URL:

The Washington Times

2007 German horror tale
By Paul Belien
Published February 28, 2007

Earlier this month, a German teenager was forcibly taken from her parents and 
imprisoned in a psychiatric ward. Her crime? She is being home-schooled.

On Feb. 1, 15 German police officers forced their way into the home of the 
Busekros family in the Bavarian town of Erlangen. They hauled off 16-year-old 
Melissa, the eldest of the six Busekros children, to a psychiatric ward in 
nearby Nuremberg. Last week, a court affirmed that Melissa has to remain in the 
Child Psychiatry Unit because she is suffering from "school phobia."

Home-schooling has been illegal in Germany since Adolf Hitler outlawed it in 
1938 and ordered all children to be sent to state schools. The home-schooling 
community in Germany is tiny. As Hitler knew, Germans tend to obey orders 
unquestioningly. Only some 500 children are being home-schooled in a country of 
80 million. Home-schooling families are prosecuted without mercy.

Last March, a judge in Hamburg sentenced a home-schooling father of six to a 
week in prison and a fine of $2,000. Last September, a Paderborn mother of 12 
was locked up in jail for two weeks. The family belongs to a group of seven 
ethnic German families who immigrated to Paderborn from the former Soviet Union.
The Soviets persecuted them because they were Baptists. An initiative of the 
Paderborn Baptists to establish their own private school was rejected by the 
German authorities. A court ruled that the Baptists showed "a stubborn contempt 
both for the state's educational duty as well as the right of their children to 
develop their personalities by attending school."

All German political parties, including the Christian Democrats of Chancellor 
Angela Merkel, are opposed to home-schooling. They say that "the obligation to 
attend school is a civil obligation, that cannot be tampered with." The 
home-schoolers receive no support from the official (state funded) churches, 
either. These maintain that home-schoolers "isolate themselves from the world" 
and that "freedom of religion does not justify opposition against the obligation
to attend school." Six decades after Hitler, German politicians and church 
leaders still do not understand true freedom: that raising children is a 
prerogative of their fathers and mothers and not of the state, which is never a 
benevolent parent and often an enemy.

Hermann Stucher, a pedagogue who called upon Christians to withdraw their 
children from the state schools which, he says, have fallen into the hands of 
"neo-Marxist activists," has been threatened with prosecution for "Hochverrat 
und Volksverhetzung" (high treason and incitement of the people against the 
authorities). The fierceness of the authorities' reaction is telling. The 
dispute is about the hearts and minds of the children. In Germany, schools have 
become vehicles of indoctrination, where children are brought up to 
unquestioningly accept the authority of the state in all areas of life. It is no
coincidence that people who have escaped Soviet indoctrination discern what the 
government is doing in the schools and are sufficiently concerned to want to 
protect their children from it.

What is worrying is that most "free-born" Germans accept this assault on their 
freedom as normal and eye parents who opt out of the state system with 

The situation is hardly better at the European level. Last September, the 
European Court of Human Rights supported Hitler's 1938 schooling bill. The 
Strasburg-based court, whose verdicts apply in the entire European Union, ruled 
that the right to education "by its very nature calls for regulation by the 
State." It upheld the finding of German courts: "Schools represent society, and 
it is in the children's interest to become part of that society. The parents' 
right to educate does not go so far as to deprive their children of that 

While it is disquieting that Europeans have not learned the lessons from their 
dictatorial past ‹ upholding Nazi laws and sending dissidents, including 
children, to psychiatric wards, as the Soviets used to do ‹ there is reason for 
Americans to worry, too. The United Nations is also restricting the rights of 
parents. Article 29 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates
that it is the goal of the state to direct the education of children. In 
Belgium, the U.N. Convention is currently being used to limit the constitutional
right to home-school. In 1995 Britain was told that it violated the U.N. 
Convention by allowing parents to remove their children from public school 
sex-education classes.

Last year, the American Home School Legal Defense Association warned that the 
U.N. Convention could make home-schooling illegal in America, even though the 
Senate has never ratified it. Some lawyers and liberal politicians in the states
claim that U.N. conventions are "customary international law" and should be 
considered part of American jurisprudence.

At present, young Melissa Busekros' ordeal is a German horror story. Could it 
soon be an American one?

Paul Belien is editor of the Brussels Journal and an adjunct fellow of the 
Hudson Institute.

Copyright © 2007 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright The Washington Times

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