Homeschooling in Germany
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Homeschooling in Germany is illegal with rare exceptions. The requirement to attend school has been upheld, on challenge from parents, by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. Parents violating the law have most prominently included fundamentalist Christians who want to give their children a more Christian education than that which is offered by the schools. Penalties against these parents have included fines (around €5,000), successful legal actions to take away the parents' custody of their children, and jail time for the parents.
In a landmark legal case commenced in 2003 at the European Court of Human Rights a homeschooling parent couple argued on behalf of their children that Germany's compulsory school attendance endangered their children's religious upbringing, promoted teaching inconsistent with their Christian faith – especially the German State's mandates relating to sex education in the schools – and contravened the declaration in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union that "the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions". In September 2006 the European Court of Human Rights upheld the German ban on homeschooling, stating "parents may not refuse... [compulsory schooling] on the basis of their convictions", and adding that the right to education "calls for regulation by the State". The European Court took the position that the plaintiffs were the children, not their parents, and declared "children are unable to foresee the consequences of their parents' decision for home education because of their young age.... 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 as far as to deprive their children of that experience." The European Court endorsed a "carefully reasoned" decision of the German court concerning "the general interest of society to avoid the emergence of parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions and the importance of integrating minorities into society."