The following letter was sent to us by our friends at Home School Legal Defense Association. Please take a the time to write a letter if you have the time.
February 5, 2007
HSLDA--German Homeschooled Child Sentenced to a Child Psychiatry Unit
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
The situation for homeschoolers in Germany is getting worse each week. Just last Thursday, a 17-year-old homeschooled girl was forcibly removed from her parent's custody by over 15 police officers. The homeschooled girl has been placed in the child psychiatry unit of the Nuremberg clinic.
Homeschooling is not legal in Germany. There are over 40 cases currently in court or being appealed. Christian families are fleeing Germany for safety in nearby countries. The unconscionable treatment of sincere and faithful Christian homeschool families is a sad legacy from Germany's past. Homeschooling was first banned under Adolf Hitler, and that ban is still enforced today.
Many families who have had their children forcibly taken from their home each day and taken to government school have since fled Germany, but there are still some homeschoolers. The latest incident involves 17-year-old Melissa Busekros, the girl sent to the Nuremberg psychiatry unit. What is being done to this sensitive girl--just to set an example of enforcing the compulsory schooling at all costs--is reprehensible and causing trauma to unassuming and lovable Melissa.
In the summer of 2005, when Melissa was 15, she was told she would have to repeat the seventh grade at the government school because she was failing math and Latin. She had good grades in the rest of her classes, so her parents tutored her at home for those two subjects. When the school officials found out they were angry and then expelled Melissa, so the family began to homeschool full time.
However, the Youth Welfare office then took the family to court because they were homeschooling. Then, on Tuesday, January 30, 2007, social workers and police officers came to the Busekros home and forcibly took Melissa to the child psychiatric unit where she was questioned for four hours before she was returned home. Then two days later, 15 police officers and social workers came to the Busekros home and took Melissa away from her parents by force and placed her in the child psychiatric unit.
According to Melissa's father, Hubert Busekros, this treatment was justified by the psychiatrist's finding two days previously that Melissa was supposedly developmentally delayed by one year and that she suffered from school phobia.
Nevertheless, one organization concerned with education expressed outrage at the treatment of Melissa Busekros.
"The Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit [the Network for Freedom of Education] condemns this inconsiderate and totally incommensurate behavior on the part of the officials involved and demands that they give Melissa her freedom and return her to her family immediately," the group was quoted in an article on its website. To view the site, as well as more information and a photograph of the Busekros family, go to http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3697 .
We ask you to take a moment and do two things: First, call or email the German Embassy and give them this message:
"We are shocked to hear of the Busekros' homeschooled daughter Melissa being removed from the custody of her parents and being placed in a child psychiatric unit. This is an outrage that hearkens back to the Nazi era. We cannot believe a free nation would put a homeschooled child in a psychiatric ward for 'school phobia.' The attack on the
homeschool families throughout Germany must stop."
The German Embassy can be contacted at:
Dr. Klaus Scharioth
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
The embassy can be emailed from its website: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3696 .
Second, pray for the German situation. Only God can change the situation for homeschoolers in Germany. Attempts by German homeschoolers to organize or to change the laws through court continue to be lost, but with God all things are possible. We ask that you cry out for the German homeschool families.
German parents have been fighting for the right to homeschool for the last seven or more years. However, all efforts have failed in the face of the stubborn German government and their official response that they cannot "allow a counterculture to exist."
We believe the hope for Germany will be via the international pressure bearing down so that they abandon their witch-hunt after homeschoolers and their terrible treatment of these innocent families.
Homeschoolers remaining in Germany are hoping to legalize homeschooling in one state and thereby make a safe-haven for
homeschoolers. However, the German homeschoolers are so few and the attacks so intense that it is hard to make any progress in this area.
If you wish to assist the Germans in their struggle for homeschool freedom, or with many other struggling countries, you can donate to HSLDA's international fund via the Home School Foundation at http://www.homeschoolfoundation.org/ .
Your donation will be used to meet the homeschooling needs in Germany. After meeting the known homeschooling needs in this country, if there are remaining funds, this money will be transferred to the Foundation's International Fund to meet homeschooling needs in other countries.
Thank you for standing with these families and taking a moment to assist them.
Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel
Director of State and International Relations