The Romeike family’s very public legal battle has brought to light the homeschooling community’s ongoing battle inside Germany. Educating children in this manner is illegal in the European nation, which led Uwe and Hannelore Romeike to inevitably seek refuge. While the family’s battle for asylum in the U.S. continues, there’s another story coming out of Germany that will likely send chills down the spines of homeschooling advocates.
On Thursday, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich reportedly saw authorities storm their home and remove their four children, ages seven to 14. The offense? Continuing to homeschool their children, despite the government’s laws against doing so.
The Wunderlich family’s plight is highlighted in a release from the Home School Legal Defense Association, a nonprofit organization that works to defend families who choose the alternative education model.
“At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 29, 2013, in what has been called a “brutal and vicious act,” a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, forcibly removing all four of the family’s children,” the organization said.
According to Dirk, the family was starting its day when the doorbell rang. When the father looked out the window, he saw a troupe of officials, many of whom were armed. Dirk began to question why they were at his home, but when three officers reportedly prepared to ram down his door, the father allowed them inside.
And that’s when chaos unfolded.
“The police shoved me into a chair and wouldn’t let me even make a phone call at first. It was chaotic as they told me they had an order to take the children,” Dirk said. “At my slightest movement the agents would grab me as if I were a terrorist. You would never expect anything like this to happen in our calm, peaceful village. It was like a scene out of a science fiction movie.”
According to the HSLDA, after reviewing court documents, the only reason for the seizure of the children was the homeschooling issue, as there are purportedly no additional charges against the parents. To make matters worse, the organization claims that the judge who issued the order also authorized police to use force against the family — children included — if necessary.
This isn’t the Wunderlichs first run-in with German officials. In 2012, state officials took legal custody of their children over the same issue. While the family later left the country in search of the freedom to educate their children at home, a failure to find work drove them back to Germany. HSLDA charges that the kids’ passports were then taken by the government in an effort to ensure that the family doesn’t travel for the same purposes again.
“We are empty. We need help,” Petra said after the raid. “We are fighting but we need help.”
The family isn’t alone. Despite repeated roadblocks, the Romeike family’s battle to homeschool also continues. Last month, attorneys pledged to take the ongoing quest to the U.S. Supreme Court, as the parents and children are currently in America, where they are hoping to gain asylum.
The Romeikes came to the U.S. in an effort to seek asylum after being persecuted in Germany for homeschooling their children. As TheBlaze previously reported, an immigration judge granted the parents and children asylum in 2010, but the U.S. government appealed, arguing that laws against homeschooling don’t constitute human rights infractions.
You can read more about the Romeike and Wunderlich family plights on the HSLDA website.