A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

US judge grants asylum to German immigrants wanting to homeschool

[JURIST] A US immigration judge granted asylum [press release] to a German family on Tuesday, ruling that Germany's laws against homeschooling [HSLDA backgrounder] gave the family a well-founded fear of persecution. The Romeike family fled Germany [AP report] in 2008, two years after pulling their children out of German public school so that they could be homeschooled, and one year after a controversial German court ruling that social service workers could remove children from the home if the parents refused to send them to school. Judge Lawrence Burman's opinion was critical of German policy regarding educational freedom, calling the country's laws against homeschooling a violation of basic human rights. The case has caused controversy over religious persecution in Germany [Der Spiegel report], as the Romeikes claimed that German curriculum has turned against Christian values with the passage of time. It is not known if the US government will appeal the ruling.

Unlike in Germany, homeschooling is legal and increasing in popularity in the US, with recent figures suggesting that as many as 1.7 million children [USA Today report] are homeschooled. Each state has its own homeschooling laws [HSLDA backgrounder] with varying levels of regulatory scrutiny, ranging from no notice required to homeschool children to mandatory notification of achievement and compliance with state curriculum. Homeschooling was outlawed in Germany in 1919 [constitution text], and the ban is enshrined within article 7 [text] of the current constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.