When Dirk and Petra Wunderlich decided to homeschool their children, they knew that they were in violation of German law. The devout Christian parents felt that the public school system was teaching subjects that contradicted their religious beliefs. German officials found out about the family’s homeschool and physically removed the children at gunpoint. The Christian Post reported on Aug. 30, 2014, that custody of the children has been returned to the family. It is a bittersweet victory for Dirk and Petra.
The children were returned to the Wunderlich family. Once the court ruled that removing the children was excessive, the Wunderlichs removed their children from public school and returned to homeschooling. The family cannot leave Germany or they will be extradited and brought up on additional criminal charges. This ruling prevents them from emigrating from Germany to the United States like the Romeike family did.
The Home School Legal Defense Association has been providing legal counsel to the Wunderlich family. Although custody has been returned, the family still faces up to $75,000 in fines and criminal prosecution. German law is extremely clear on homeschooling. Except for very extreme circumstances, parents must send their children to the state school. The family’s legal counsel, Michael Donnelly, feels that the German government has acted outside the bounds of what free societies should tolerate. German officials claim that homeschooling endangers children.
The Wunderlich’s battle is far from over. Although they no longer fear losing their children, they have no way to pay the heavy fines. If brought up on criminal charges, both parents face jail time. Other German families still face the possibility of losing their children if they decide to homeschool. The Wunderlichs hope that this recent ruling will start to make life easier for them and for other German homeschoolers.