Jail sentence for homeschooling

Court hearing a formality –

A family of eleven who have been homeschooling for some twenty years are about to finally be done in – if everything goes according to the authorities’ will.

Gefängnis für HausunterrichtIn order to finally shut down their homeschooling a sentence of four months imprisonment each for both parents has been issued by penalty order – without a trial having taken place. Thomas Schaum (51) and his wife Marit (48) from the German state of Hessia have been accused of  “permanently and obstinately obstructing compulsary school attendance” by the authorities and the state attorney. The court of their hometown Fritzlar followed the motion for a jail sentence for the parents of nine children. As the accused appealed against the sentence, a court hearing about the matter will have to take place on May 22, 2013.

Thomas and Marit Schaum are convinced Christians who consequently live according to their biblically founded convictions. For the Schaums sending their children to public school amounts to non-compliance with their God-given mandate of raising and educating them. Under no circumstances do they want to leave their education to people and institutions who are dubious in their eyes and pursue aims that contradict parental education.

In the past the family’s oldest three children acquired an accepted school leaving certificate for non-schoolers, one son has mastered car mechanics, one daughter is an employée of administration, two more children are currently being trained as apprentices. Two daughters acquired regular school leaving certificates with very good results by attending a state school in the final year.

The authorities and courts are well aware of these facts as well as of the couple’s religious motives. Nevertheless a judge issued the sentence of altogether eight months in prison for them. Because of their appeal a trial will have to take place, but observers regard this as a mere formality. A counsel for the defense has been appointed to the Schaums, two lawyers who have eventually been able to change the jail sentence for Rosemarie and Jürgen Dudek in 2008 into a money fine. Whether that will be possible here has to be seen.

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