As you know, I don’t get too personal or political on A Daily Something. But there’s something really important going on in America right now that I feel you should all know about, and get worked up over. Please take the time to read this post. I apologize that it’s so very long, but I wanted to equip you with all the information.
Homeschooling is very near and dear to me. I was homeschooled for all but one year of my K-12 education. I’m the second oldest of seven kids and loved every minute of it. Well, looking back, I can now say that I loved every minute of it (and appreciate the sacrifice made by my parents). Homeschooling prepared me immensely for college, and we had an incredible amount freedom to make our own schedules and choose our own curriculum, work when we were older, take college classes while still in high school, go on vacations and bring school along, be involved in local politics and the community, etc.
Homeschooling provided an incredible number of options, and most importantly, my parents (the people who raised me, knew me better than anyone else, and knew what was best for me) were in control of my education, and that was wonderful. I cannot wait to homeschool our little girl (and any other children we have).
When I was in college, I worked as a legal assistant for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Simply stated, HSLDA’s mission since 1983 has been to protect the rights of parents to homeschool their children. It’s an incredible organization, run by individuals who are passionate about this preserving this freedom in America and worldwide.
Right now, homeschooling is under major attack in Germany, and HSLDA is representing the Romeike family, victims of harsh persecution from the Germany government. The Romeike family homeschooled their children in Germany, where families are fined thousands of dollars, face imprisonment, or even have their children taken away for homeschooling their children.
Leaving behind their home, family, and community, the Romeikes fled to the United States to homeschool their children in freedom. HSLDA is representing this family in a political asylum case. According to HSLDA, “Political asylum is available to people already in the United States who fear returning to their home country due to actual persecution or who have well-founded fear of actual persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” Germany bans homeschooling for the purpose of “counteract[ing] the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.” The German government clearly wishes to prohibit people who think differently than the government, to grow in their society.
Initially, the asylum application was successful and the Romeike family was granted political asylum, which would allow them to remain in America, free to homeschool their children. But then, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) of the current US government administration appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. The Board sided with the US government, and HSLDA appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Currently, the case is just weeks away from oral argument.
Here’s were this case gets a little too close for comfort. This German homeschool case has strong implications for US homeschool freedom. In its brief, the current US Attorney General is claiming there is no fundamental right to homeschool and is denying religious freedom as an individual right, despite the fact that homeschooling is recognized in all 50 states as just such a right. Instead of looking to US law and precedent, the current administration claimed that the US immigration court which initially granted asylum “improvidently disregard[ed]” a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (as though our judges should be controlled by poorly conceived precedent set in other countries). According to the Attorney General, the Romeikes can simply “change” their involvement in the “particular social group” (homeschooling), and send their children to Germany’s state-run schools.
These are frightening positions coming from the US Attorney General (positions which could have an impact beyond mere homeschool freedom). If we want to preserve our precious liberties here in America, we need to properly address the situation of this German homeschooling family.
HSLDA has launched a petition on the White House, urging the Obama Administration to grant permanent legal status to the Romeike family. If you care about preserving individual rights and freedom of religion in America, I urge you to sign this petition. You don’t have to be homeschooling your children to do so.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this; please help spread it! The petition needs 100,000 signatures before April 18!
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