That’s what the Romeike’s faced, and they chose America to seek asylum in 2008. A homeschooling, devoutly Christian family, they refused to send their children to German state schools.
Under German law, homeschooling is illegal “with the only exception being where continued school attendance would create undue hardship for an individual child.” State school is mandatory for German children. Since leaving, the Romeike’s have had an uphill battle trying to avoid deportation to Germany, where the parents would be heavily fined, possibly jailed and the children placed in foster care.
With a final blow last week from the Supreme Court declining to hear their case, the family was left without much hope. Yesterday, Mike Farris with the Home School Legal Defense Association wrote on the site: “The Department of Homeland Security verbally informed Home School Legal Defense Association that the Romeike family is being granted indefinite deferred action status.” This is after a petition started by HSLDA was signed by over 127,000 people and sent to the White House. You can read the entire statement by visiting HSLDA.
I can’t imagine not having a choice on how my children are educated. Having worked in both public and private schools, and now homeschool, it seems a shame that Germany only allows for one type of education for their littlest citizens.
What happens to this family now? That remains to be seen in the weeks and months ahead. The indefinite status means that at any time they could be asked to leave. That’s a hard life for a family of eight living in a foreign country.
So many of us take our education options for granted. We don’t have to homeschool, pay for private schools, or send our children to public. There are all kinds of options (like charter and online schools) for children who need a different kind of learning style. We may not understand the desperation of a family who wants to educate outside of the box, but living in a country that won’t allow that.
Here’s what makes me nervous — our country’s initial response to the Romeike’s request to stay here. Wasn’t our country founded because of lack of freedom? The immigration panel said the German homeschool family was not persecuted and therefore not eligible for asylum under our federal guidelines, even as Mike Farris argued that Germany clearly violated basic human rights. The 6th Circuit agreed, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and the “Obama administration stood against the family, asking federal courts to side with Germany and its law, since it is enforced for all families.” – Washington Times
So if our own country doesn’t believe freedom of education is a human right — what does that mean for us?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Should we grant the Romeike’s asylum? Is this a human rights violation? What is your take on our government’s initial stance on this story?
Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, Still Standing Magazine, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post, with smaller glimpses into her day on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. More from Diana: