Ben Brophy draws our attention to German authorities removing Dirk and Petra Wunderlich’s four children from their home because they see fit to educate them at home.
I share Ben’s dismay at Germany’s heavy-handedness. Many years ago, I used to work for the state child at risk hotline here in Massachusetts. Children were only removed from their homes if there was physical abuse, sexual abuse or severe neglect. Homeschooling hardly rises to the level of neglect or abuse. The Wunderlich children should be returned to their parents forthwith.
With that being said, I disagree with Ben when he argues that “we should immediately adopt a policy of asylum for those who choose to homeschool their children.” As with my previous dissent, I don’t believe granting German homeschoolers is the appropriate remedy. Ben might believe that Germany does not have “a true democratic government”, but there is nothing preventing the Wunderlichs, the Romeikes or any other German homeschooling family from petitioning the German government from changing the law or from running for office themselves. It might not be an easy task and might take many years to come to fruition if at all. But it is a battle they are free to fight. Germany is not Cuba.
As I noted previously, our asylum laws are intended for those who are persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group and political opinion. When the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petition of the Romeikes, the Court cited the argument of Samuel Alito advanced on a case before the Third Court of Appeals two decades ago. Alito argued, “The concept of persecution does not encompass all treatment that our society regards as unfair, unjust, or even unlawful or unconstitutional.” The current Supreme Court justice went on to say that if we did “a significant percentage of the world’s population would qualify for asylum in this country.”
Or let me put it another way. Let’s suppose this country sees fit to grant asylum to German homeschoolers. If that’s the case then we have to be prepared to extend asylum to German homeschooling families who wish to turn their living rooms into mini-madrassas.