SIGN NOW: German Family Pleads for Help from Human Rights Court
The Wunderlich family has been seeking peace and justice for a more than a decade. And now in 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has a chance to grant it.
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have filed written submissions to the ECHR on behalf of the persecuted German homeschooling family. The court will now rule on whether or not the German authorities violated the Wunderlichs’ human rights by violently breaking into their home and seizing their children.
Sign this petition to send a note to the German ambassador showing your support for the Wunderlich family. Let him know that we will not accept his country’s gross violation of the Wunderlichs’ human rights.
The Wunderlichs are a Christian family who believe in the capacity of their children to learn at home. Unfortunately, the German government forces all children to attend state-sponsored schools. They have long been terrorizing the Wunderlich family for their decision to home-educate.
Because of their desire to homeschool, the Wunderlich family initially sought refuge in France, where homeschooling is legal.
In 2009, the Wunderlich family was living in France when the German government asked French authorities to seize the children due to an ongoing investigation regarding the parents’ decision to homeschool.
The Wunderlichs had just arrived in France and were staying with a friend. Their children had already impressed their hosts and their new neighbors, but the French social authorities took the German accusations seriously and they seized the children.
Thankfully, HSLDA was able to quickly help the Wunderlichs find a French lawyer. During the investigation, French social services workers interviewed neighbors who had observed the family. They also reviewed the family’s schooling plan. They determined that there was no problem.
The Wunderlichs had four beautiful, well-adjusted children who were learning and developing appropriately for their age.
Just a few days later, at a hearing, a French judge returned the children to their parents. The judge declared: “Of course you can homeschool in France—you are welcome here.”
Unfortunately, in 2012 the family was forced to leave France and return to Germany because of family and financial obligations.
They reached out to local authorities and child protective services in Germany, who met with the family in March of 2012. Authorities found that there was no need for intervention. Investigators again found that the children were developing according to their age.
Regardless of these findings, school authorities were unwilling to cooperate with the Wunderlich family and they brought the matter to court. In June 2013, German authorities reached back into the Wunderlich’s file and found an anonymous allegation from a year prior. Based on this tip, they convinced a judge to grant an emergency ex parte order of removal.
The order was executed violently, and the children were seized and transported to a group home.
Authorities again tested the children and found that they were developing as well or better than other children their age. The children were returned to their parents three weeks later.
The judge ordered that the children could only be returned on the condition that they be placed in the local public school. Without their passports or any alternative, the parents agreed and enrolled the children in the local school.
At the end of the year, the family tried to leave Germany, but the children’s passports were retained by the authorities. A local judge stated that he would not let the family return to France, where homeschooling is legal, because in Germany homeschooling is considered an abuse of parental rights.
Finally, a higher court ordered that all passports and legal custody be returned to the family, since the children were in school and there were no other concerns. At the end of the school year, the children returned to homeschooling.
HSLDA and the Alliance Defending Freedom ADF have brought the case before the ECHR to hold Germany accountable for their acts of injustice against the Wunderlich family. The ECHR now has the opportunity to decide if violently seizing children from their home, when they are being educated and well–cared for, is permitted under the European Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Please take a moment to sign this petition to the German Ambassador. Help us show Germany that the international community is outraged over their treatment of the Wunderlich family.
Learn more about the Wunderlich story at hslda.org/wunderlich.