German homeschoolers seek U.S. asylum

Banned from homeschooling their five children in Germany, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are seeking political asylum in the U.S., claiming persecution for their evangelical Christian beliefs. The family, which includes five children ranging in age from 11 to 3, now lives near Knoxville, Tennessee.

Romeike, like many conservative parents in the U.S., said he wanted to teach his own children because his children’s German school textbooks contained language and ideas that conflicted with his family’s values.

Homeschooling is banned in Germany.  The parents faced fines and the possible loss of custody if they continued to defy orders to send their children to school.

Via Instapundit.

About Joanne


  1. Stacy in NJ says:

    Those silly Germans. Don’t they know that the state owns their children?

  2. thaprof says:

    Don’t worry, Stacy. Soon our American Fuhrer will be implementing that here, and these poor little German kids can don their “Obama Youth” uniforms along with the Americans.

  3. How can anyone deny parents the right to home school their children? There are several factors in determining whether a child will be home schooled or not. It’s important to ensure every child recieves an education, not a matter of how it is accomplished.

  4. dangermom says:

    If they’re EU citizens, shouldn’t they just be able to move to an EU country that allows homeschooling–say the UK? It seems to me that claiming asylum is a little over-the-top, perhaps more about attention for the cause than a real need for refuge.

  5. ” It seems to me that claiming asylum is a little over-the-top, perhaps more about attention for the cause than a real need for refuge.”

    Ah, of course! It’s an evil right-wing fascist plot!

    MargoMom, is that you?

  6. dangermom says:

    Perhaps I should have explained in my post that I’m a hardcore classical homeschooler myself and could perhaps be called a crunchy con; I’m all about self-sufficiency and so on. Of course I think it’s ridiculous that Germany outlaws homeschooling. This asylum-seeking still strikes me more as publicity-seeking than as a serious need for refuge from an oppressive government.

  7. Andy Freeman says:

    > If they’re EU citizens

    Does the EU actually grant citizenship? Or does it merely allow relatively free travel and a somewhat common currency?

  8. Parent2 says:

    They’re evangelical Christians. They may feel more at home in a community friendly to those of their particular religious persuasion. The article doesn’t specify their sect, so I don’t know if they’ve joined a larger religious community.

    I find it quite likely that religion trumps euro-identity.

    They aren’t US citizens, and I presume they don’t hold green cards. They may also have chosen the US because someone here offered them employment.

  9. It’s hard to think of any motive a state has for banning homeschooling, except for the idea that “the children belong to the state.” On the other hand, the “f-word” is not called for at this time (“fuhrer”, that is).

  10. I don’t think the Romeikes are overreacting. Other homeschooling families in Germany have been jailed, had their kids taken away by the government, and/or their assets seized to pay fines levied for defying the ban. How is that not persecution for their beliefs?

  11. It is my understanding the children of some US military families stationed in Germany are being home schooled and the German government does not bother them.

  12. For those interested in understanding more about the state of home education in Germany, the persecuted families, law and initiatives you may like to visit Educating Germany.

  13. SuperSub says:

    Assuming that the soldiers’ families live on military bases, those are commonly viewed as US soil… meaning that German laws have no standing there.

  14. Military bases aren’t really viewed as US soil – German police have jurisdiction over crimes committed on the base, for example – but there is a “status of forces agreement” in effect that governs US soldiers stationed in Germany and exempts them from many laws that would otherwise apply. Soldiers do have the right to send their kids to German schools, however.

    An addendum to the above – while German police have jurisdiction over US bases, they will typically turn the case over to US authorities if it only involves Americans.

  15. Andy Freeman says:

    More to the point, US soldiers are part of an army that doesn’t have to be there. German citizens are not.

  16. Supersub,

    You are wrong. US bases in Germany are covered by a status of forces agreement and are in no sense German soil. All of our military and civilian personnel and dependents are subject to German law with some exceptions. For example I think the exceptions keep military families from claiming German social welfare benefits. Another example, I was allowed to own a private firearm with my commander’s approval and drove without a German license with my commander’s approval.

    Many of our housing areas are not on the military installation and of course many military families live on the local economy.

    A child born in Germany, even to parents who are US Military personnel, the child gets German citizenship.

    Many times the German’s decline to prosecute for political reasons or because military law is more severe or they do not want to waste their time and funds to prosecute.

  17. BadaBing says:

    Should we really offer asylum to white Christians? That goes against the grain of the past thirty years.

  18. We had a German student stay with us for a few weeks and returned for a visit recently. I must say that he was a very bright and talented young man. He spoke English fluently and always had something of importance to add to our many topics of conversation around the dinner table. Now, I am not saying that the public school system is perfect and for everyone, but I don’t think that a homeschool environment would have been to his advantage. To ban homeschooling entirely, I will admit, is going a bit too far. I hope and pray that our homeschooling freedoms will always remain.