Case Overturned As Judge Determined To Be Biased

A German court judge granted custody to homeschoolers Dirk and Petra Wunderlich after their minor children were removed in 2013.

The final victory came in a family court located in Darmstadt a few months after the European Court of Human Rights ruled against their appeal. An appeal before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Right is still pending.

A new judge ruled in the family’s favour after the judge involved in the 2013 removal of the children was replaced on the grounds of bias.

Why the Controversy Over Homeschooling?

“The right of parents to direct the education of their children is a fundamental right, protected in international law,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International and lead counsel for the Wunderlich family at the European Court of Human Rights.

“We are pleased to see that the German court respected this right and acknowledged that the Wunderlich children are doing well. As we wait for referral to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, we hope that, there too, the rights of the Wunderlich family will be safeguarded,” Clarke said.

The court ruled that the two youngest of the four children (still minors), will remain with their parents after they expressed their desire to be homeschooled. The European Court of Human Rights discovered that the children’s knowledge level was not alarming, and they were not being withheld from attending school.

One of their children wrote in a letter to the judge, “I am not ready to attend a public school simply because German judges cannot imagine for me to be educated in a different way. I will not tolerate being forcefully taken and locked up.”

A sibling added, “I just want to live and learn in peace with my family without the constant fear of being torn apart like in 2009 and in 2013. I went to a public school for a year and definitely did not enjoy it.”

The Wunderlich’s home was raiding in 2013 by police threatening to knock down their door and removing the Wunderlich’s four children. The children were returned after a court hearing brought international protests, and under the condition that the children would return to school.

The state retained custody of the children in the event that if the family decided to flee, they would be treated as kidnappers. Dirk said to CBN News, “You have no right to do this. You snatch my children and bring them into foster care and that is good for my family? You destroy a family and that is good for the welfare of children?”

According to CBN News, the children referred to their time in public school as a waste of time with an out of control classroom environment.

Machsejah noted, “In home schooling I felt like we were able to learn a lot more in a shorter time; in school they always make it so long and still you learn less than in homeschool.”

Their father Dirk added, “They don’t learn anything. They get a brainwashing about reality and also they learn bad behavior.” 

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