The German state of Hessen is one of those where not sending your child to school is a criminal act. I know a few families in Hessen who are homeschooling, some religious, some not. Most of them stay very underground. For good reason, as you can see in the report below.
Dudek family to go before court once again.
By Harald Sagawe
Prosecutor Herwig Muller has appealed against the verdict in the case of Rosemarie and Jürgen Dudek. The couple from the German town of Archfeld in Herleshausen was sentenced to fines at the beginning of May. In the meantime the prosecutor in Kassel has applied for jail sentences of three months each, without probation, for the parents of six children.
Rosemarie and Jürgen Dudek were sentenced because they did not send their children to school, for religious reasons. The parents, Christians who closely follow the bible, teach their children themselves. Two years ago the court had also dealt with the Dudeks. That case, dealing with the payment of a fine, had been dropped. An application for the approval of a state-recognised private school - which, according to experts, has no chance of success at any rate - has still not been decided by the school authorities.
"It's a terrible thing, to lock up a family that hasn't done anyone any harm," says the accused, Jürgen Dudek.
The prosecutor, Herwig Müller, is currently on vacation. Chief prosecutor Hans-Manfred Jung confirmed the veto, but could not say anything about the reasons.
Jürgen Dudek is horrified at the idea that the prosecution wants to see him and his wife behind bars. "It's a terrible thing, to lock up a family that hasn't done anyone any harm," he says, "especially now, with the legal situation looking the way it is." He regards the matter as absurd.
The judge's job is to pronounce a verdict and not mix himself up in administrative matters, says Arno Meissner, director of the education department. Meanwhile he makes it clear that his office will by no means leave the family in peace, not even temporarily. "We will enforce compulsory school attendance against the family as promptly as possible. First his office intends to talk with the family, then to set a time limit and if this is not met, it will once again open a criminal case against them. Not even the announcement of a move by the family will settle the matter, declared Meissner.
Meissner dismissed the criticism made by Peter Höbbel, the judge of the juvenile court, against his department. We won't let ourselves be admonished by a judge in that way, he said. "His duty is to make a judgement when the prosecutor brings a charge and to stay out of administrative matters." Höbbel had rebuked the education department because it has been sitting on the Dudeks' application for the approval of a private school for two and a half years, with no decision having been made about it.
You can read the original article in German here.