German Home-schooling Family

Update November 20, 2013

Very good news on Romeike!

This morning the Supreme Court ordered the United States to respond to our petition. This substantially increases the likelihood of granting us full review. Thanks for all of your prayers. Please continue to pray.

The government reply is due December 19. They probably will ask for an extension.

Update May 16, 2013: U.S. Appeals Court Denies Asylum to German Homeschool Family

Update April 3, 2013: The national mainstream media is now picking up this story, as the Obama administration seeks immigration reform and a path to citizen for millions of illegal immigrants, while at the same time seeking to deport this German homeschool family which is here legally as refugees. HSLDA has started a petition to the White House, which needs over 60,000 more signatures in the next two weeks. Learn more here.

From the Washington Times:

The open border so dear to the hearts of many Democrats, eager to get the 11 million illegal aliens on the voter rolls, ends short of compassion for refugees from First World countries, as Uwe and Hannelore Romeike have found out. The administration is working overtime to deport this family because they home-school their children.

The Romeikes fled their native Germany in 2008 after uniformed police officers arrived at their home and forcibly took their children to government-run schools. Home-schooling has been illegal in Germany since 1938, when the Nazis brooked no resistance to state control of everything. The Romeikes were fined thousands for their resistance.

The Romeikes, who say German schools teach subjects that go against their evangelical Christian beliefs, are parents of three boys and three girls, ranging in age from 20 months to 15 years. They live now on a farm in eastern Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains.They sought and were granted political refuge in the United States in 2010, but the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals overturned the decision last year, contending that Germany’s ban on home-schooling doesn’t violate the Romeikes’ human rights. The administration essentially says parents have no fundamental right to educate their own children, hence no political asylum.Should the Romeikes be forcibly repatriated, fines are the least of their worries. They could face stiff prison sentences, and their children could be taken away from them.

Read more:

From ABC News:

McKanders also says that public policy implications as far as the United States’ relationship with Germany could also be in play in this case, and that immigration officials may be wary of setting a precedent that establishes homeschooling as a means for asylum.

“They don’t want to open up the floodgates for similar asylum claims based on these grounds,” she said.

Recent changes in immigration enforcement policy are also at issue.

In 2011 the Obama administration initiated a new policy called “prosecutorial discretion” that gives the government broad power to pursue only high-priority cases. The policy was designed to give Department of Homeland Security the power to decide which deportation proceedings it wishes to pursue.

“This case would probably fall under one of those cases that should be a low priority because you have a family that is fleeing based on their own beliefs,” McKanders said. “They of course do not have a criminal background so it should be one of those cases where they are not spending a lot of resrouces, but it’s not.”

“The attorney general has the authority at any point in time to grant the family asylum,” said Donnelly, who added that he hopes that’s eventually what happens in this case. “These folks should be allowed to stay, they meet the standard.”

Read More:

From Foxnews:

“Germany sticks out in the midst of Western Europe for having this harsh repression against parents,” Donnelly said. “They have this notion that homeschool creates this parallel society and they deem that as dangerous.”

Lutz Gorgens, German consul general for the Southeast U.S., […] defended Germany’s requirements for public education. “For reasons deeply rooted in history and our belief that only schools properly can ensure the desired level of excellent education, we (Germany) go a little bit beyond that path which other countries have chosen,” Gorgens said. Germany’s approach to homeschooling is starkly different to the U.S. and other European countries.

Romeike took his three oldest children out of school in Bietigheim-Bissingen in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg in 2006. His oldest child, Daniel, had a health textbook that used slang terms to describe sexual relations — including the German equivalent of the “F-word.” Other schoolbooks taught disrespect of authority figures and had images and tales about the occult, that included vampires and witches, Romeike said. “It’s really different in public schools today than when I was in public school,” Romeike said. “They (the state) believe children must be socialized and all kids must grow up the same and act the same, otherwise they wouldn’t fit in society.”

Read more:,2933,511825,00.html

Health Impact News Editor Comments: This story has huge impacts on health freedom. Homeschooling is no longer a novelty in America, but an increasingly viable options for families across America. While the freedom to educate according to one’s religious beliefs probably remains the most common reason to home educate children, the freedom to choose one’s own health care, such as the right to refuse dangerous and toxic vaccines, is also becoming a large reason to home educate as well. Parents want more control over their families, and that goes beyond just academic education, but also now extends to the right to choose what to feed their children, and the right to choose or refuse medical procedures such as vaccines.

Michael Farris is a constitutional attorney and the head of the Home School Legal Defense Association. Last year HSLDA began to extend their legal services to cover health freedom issues, when a home-school family that was planning on a home birth had to go to a hospital when the mother went into labor sooner than expected. When the mother wanted to wait and consult someone regarding vaccinating their baby, the child was seized and the parents were expelled from the hospital. (Story here:

This message from Attorney Michael Farris regarding a home-school family from Germany seeking asylum in the U.S. has far reaching implications for the home school and health freedom issues in the U.S. HSLDA is a worthy organization to support, whether you home-educate children or not. They supply legal support to thousands of home-school families across the U.S. They offer these service to their members, and often even to those who are not members. With the increasing moves to make vaccines mandatory for public education, the right to home-school and refuse vaccines could soon be at risk.

So the question that needs to be answered is why is the Obama administration, via the Justice Department and Attorney General which is funded via our tax dollars, spending this kind of effort to export a harmless family that came into the country legally as refugees? This same administration just proposed legislation to allow illegal aliens a path to legal status. What kind of pressure is Germany putting on them to expel this family? What kind of precedents are being established here in terms of parental rights?

It should be noted that Germany is the only western country that does not allow homeschooling.  The ban on homeschooling began with a Nazi law passed in 1938, and the European Human Rights Court upheld that ban in 2006.

German Homeschool Case May Impact U.S. Homeschool Freedom

Michael Farris, J.D., LL.M.
HSLDA Founder and Chairman

Having immersed myself for about eight days in writing a brief for the Romeike family (a German homeschooling family who fled to the United States for political asylum), I wanted to share some insights I gained into the view of our own government toward the rights of homeschooling parents in general.

You will benefit from some context.

The U.S. law of asylum allows a refugee to stay in the United States permanently if he can show that he is being persecuted for one of several specific reasons. Among these are persecution for religious reasons and persecution of a “particular social group.”

In most asylum cases, there is some guesswork necessary to figure out the government’s true motive—but not in this case. The Supreme Court of Germany declared that the purpose of the German ban on homeschooling was to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.”

This sounds elegant, perhaps, but at its core it is a frightening concept. This means that the German government wants to prohibit people who think differently from the government (on religious or philosophical grounds) from growing and developing into a force in society.

Dressed-up Totalitarianism

It is thought control. It is belief control. It is totalitarianism dressed up in politically correct lingo.

But my goal today is to not belabor the nature of German repression of homeschooling; rather I seek to reveal the view of the United States government to all of this.

The Romeikes’ case is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The case for the government is officially in the name of the Attorney General of the United States. The case is called Romeike v. Holder. Thus, the brief filed by the U.S. Department of Justice is filed on behalf of the attorney general himself—although we can be reasonably certain he has not personally read it. Nonetheless, it is a statement of the position of our government at a very high level.

We argued that Germany is a party to many human rights treaties that contain specific provisions that protect the right of parents to provide an education that is different from the government schools. Parents have the explicit right to give their children an education according to their own philosophy.

While the United States government argued many things in their brief, there are three specific arguments that you should know about.

No Homeschooling? No Problem.

First, they argued that there was no violation of anyone’s protected rights in a law that entirely bans homeschooling. There would only be a problem if Germany banned homeschooling for some but permitted it for others.

Now in reality, Germany does permit some people to homeschool, but it is rare and in general Germany does ban homeschooling broadly—although not completely. (Germany allows exemptions from compulsory attendance for Gypsies and those whose jobs require constant travel. Those who want to stay at home and teach their own children are always denied.)

But, let’s assess the position of the United States government on the face of its argument: a nation violates no one’s rights if it bans homeschooling entirely.

There are two major portions of constitutional rights of citizens—fundamental liberties and equal protection. The U.S. Attorney General has said this about homeschooling. There is no fundamental liberty to homeschool. So long as a government bans homeschooling broadly and equally, there is no violation of your rights. This is a view which gives some acknowledgement to the principle of equal protection but which entirely jettisons the concept of fundamental liberties.

A second argument is revealing. The U.S. government contended that the Romeikes’ case failed to show that there was any discrimination based on religion because, among other reasons, the Romeikes did not prove that all homeschoolers were religious, and that not all Christians believed they had to homeschool.

Targeting Individual Rights

This argument demonstrates another form of dangerous “group think” by our own government. The central problem here is that the U.S. government does not understand that religious freedom is an individual right. One need not be a part of any church or other religious group to be able to make a religious freedom claim. Specifically, one doesn’t have to follow the dictates of a church to claim religious freedom—one should be able to follow the dictates of God Himself.

The United States Supreme Court has made it very clear in the past that religious freedom is an individual right. Yet our current government does not seem to understand this. They only think of us as members of groups and factions. It is an extreme form of identity politics that directly threatens any understanding of individual liberty.

One final argument from Romeikes deserves our attention. One of the grounds for asylum is if persecution is aimed at a “particular social group.” The definition of a “particular social group” requires a showing of an “immutable” characteristic that cannot change or should not be required to be changed. We contend that German homeschoolers are a particular social group who are being persecuted by their government.

The U.S. government says that Germany’s ban on homeschooling does not meet this standard because, of course, the family can change—they can simply stop homeschooling and let their children go to the public schools. After all, the U.S. government says, the children are only in public schools 22-26 hours a week. After that the parents may teach what they want.

Faulty Understanding

There are two main problems with this argument. First, our government does not understand that families like the Romeikes have two goals when they chose homeschooling. There are things they want to teach and there are things they want to avoid their children being taught in the government schools.

Does anyone think that our government would say to Orthodox Jewish parents, we can force your children to eat pork products for 22-26 hours per week because the rest of the time you can feed them kosher food?

Freedom for the mind and spirit is as important as freedom for the body and spirit.

This argument necessarily means that the United States government believes that it would not violate your rights if our own government banned homeschooling entirely. After all, you could teach your children your own values after they have had 22-26 hours of public school indoctrination aimed at counteracting religious and philosophical views the government doesn’t like.

The second problem with this argument goes back to the definition of immutability. Immutable means a characteristic that cannot be changed or “should not be required” to be changed.

No one contends that homeschooling is a characteristic that cannot be changed. We simply contend that in a free nation it is a characteristic that should not be required to be changed.

Germany has signed international treaties which proclaim that parental rights are a prior right over any views of the government when it comes to education. In fact, the movement for the adoption of these treaties came in reaction to the world’s horror at broad-ranging attack on human rights that Germany perpetrated in the events surrounding World War II. Nazi Germany believed that the children belonged first to the state. The world community answered that and said, no, parental rights are prior to those of the government.

Eliminating the Right to Choose

When the United States government says that homeschooling is a mutable choice—they are saying that it is a characteristic that a government can legitimately coerce you to change. In other words, you have no protected right to choose the education for your children. Our nation could remove your ability to homeschool and your choice would be mutable—since the government has the authority to force you to implement their wishes.

The prospect for German homeschooling freedom is not bright. But we should not reserve all of our concern for the views of the German government. Our own government is attempting to send German homeschoolers back to that land to face criminal prosecutions with fines, jail sentences, and removal of custody of children.

We should understand that in these arguments by the U.S. government, something important is being said about our own liberties as American homeschoolers.

The Attorney General of the United States thinks that a law that bans homeschooling entirely violates no fundamental liberties.

It is important that Americans stand up for the rights of German homeschooling families. In so doing, we stand up for our own.

Read the Full Article Here:

Twitter hashtag: #Stand4Romeike

Sign the Petition Here!

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