Totalitarian claim of the school state –
For one whole year Thomas and Marit Schaum are to go behind bars because they are not willing to entrust their children to a public school. The state’s attempt to force the couple from Northern Hessia by maximum punishment to act against their deep convictions bears totalitarian traits. The case will be heard at the regional court of Kassel on October 16, 2013.
For almost twenty years the Schaum parents have been refusing their children’s school attendance. Neither official requests nor court proceedings or money fines have been able to move them to let the state take the reins of their children’s education. At the same time their homeschooling is bearing good fruit. The fact that their offspring don’t lack anything is even in the court files, the local youth authorities having publicly testified that their well-being is in no way ‘endangered’. The older children have produced very good results in state exams, moving on to professional careers.
In May 2013 the parents were sentenced to a money fine of 1.400 Euros by a local court. State attorney Joachim Schnitzerling appealed against this, in his eyes the accused were ‘unregenerate’, a high jail sentence being necessary to impact them drastically. The advocate of state matters is demanding maximum penalty, six months in jail without parole for each, the father and mother of nine children. According to Schnitzerling all punishment until now “hasn’t brought about a change of opinion”. Thus this is not a question of avenging legal wrongdoing. Schnitzerling is talking about changing a disposition. The sentenced couple also appealed, therefore a higher level of jurisdiction will have to decide on this.
“If need be – by force”
Schaums are convinced Christians who consequently live out their biblically founded dictums. One of them is, of course, to raise and educate their children well. But: “Today’s state pedagogy’s aims are in complete opposition to what we think is good and right,” Thomas Schaum explains. Therefore they don’t want to leave their children’s education to persons and institutions who look doubtful to them. “We as parents are suspected, ” Schaum goes on to say, “to be unable to equip our children to manage their lives. At the same time we are forced to trust the state blindly in doing exactly that.”
Hessia’s school law says: “Whoever withdraws someone else from compulsory schooling in a repeated and obstinate way will be punished with imprisonment up to six months or with money fine of 180 day’s rates.” (art. 182.1) This regulation is directed at anyone, by no means only at parents. It reminds you of the ban on counterfeiting money (“whoever counterfeits money or circulates counterfeited money …!) and girdles “compulsory schooling” with a firewall of determent whose inner content may not be questioned.
Worst case lèse-majesty
Prison sentences of about six months are routinely reserved for crimes like criminal assault, defamation or fraud – cases in which bodily, financial or ideational damage is involved. But families like the Schaums aren’t doing harm to anyone by homeschooling. At the most, they spoil the party of some pedagogues who would have liked to have fun with their children. This the state is well aware of. Therefore it tends to magnify “coerced schooling” into something supportive of the state itself – which doesn’t reflect our constitution at all.
In fact, our social pedagogically inclined nanny state would never think of giving up the charter of “Schulpflicht” which – in make-believe legality – empowers it to rule it over all ‘its’ children. Rather shall a family who is denying the state its children be destroyed than parent’s rights be enforced or a worldwide educational alternative be tolerated.