A Christian couple in Germany is challenging the country's ban on homeschooling in the European Court of Human Rights after the government forced them to send their children to public school.
Dirk and Petra Wunderlich decided to homeschool their children in 2013, despite the longstanding ban on the practice. The couple pointed to their beliefs that Christian parenting should reflect that of God the father and Jesus, and said that they would rather not have their four kids taught by strangers.
The Christian parents said that around 20 German authorities took away their children during their first lesson.
"Our family life... why should it be disturbed for 4, 5, 6 hours a day? We want to be together and want to do our things for the whole day. There's no reason for our children to go into school which they do not like," Dirk said, according to Premier.
The children reportedly went through a series of exams to test their academic levels while they were in custody.
According to Michael Donelly of the Home School Legal Defense Association, the children did well on the tests. They were eventually released, but they were forced to go to public school for eight months, which their father described as a "horrible experience.".
"I sincerely hope the European Court of Human Rights will reaffirm that the state has no right to abduct children from their family just because they are being homeschooled," Dirk said in a statement last week.
"We chose to educate our children at home, because we believe this to be the best environment for them to learn and thrive," he continued.
ADF International, which is representing the Wunderlich family, pointed out that Germany is among the 47 countries that abide by an international human rights agreement that protects the parents' rights to direct their children's education. Lorcan Price, Legal Counsel for ADF International, expressed her belief that the prohibition on homeschooling is in direct violation of the agreement.
The homeschooling ban has been challenged in the European Court 10 years ago, but the court ruled in favor of Germany, saying parents are not allowed to homeschool their children based on religious or philosophical reasons.
Dirk is hoping that the judge would see that a violation of human rights occurred because the German police took away their children in such a hostile manner in 2013.
The Wunderlich family has considered moving to France, where it is legal to homeschool children, but they decided to stay and fight for their rights.