The Wunderlich family, with Michael Farris of the HSLDA.
One year after police in Germany obtained court permission to use “force” and arm themselves with a battering ram to remove four homeschooled kids from their parents, an appeals court has scolded officials who conducted an early morning raid.
Custody of the Wunderlich children has been returned to their parents, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the world’s premiere homeschool advocacy organization.
As WND reported Aug. 30, 2013, the state took custody of the children of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, ages 7-14, from their Darmstadt, Germany, home by police armed with a battering ram. The parents were told they wouldn’t see the children again soon because they were violating federal law by homeschooling them. The organization noted the paperwork that authorized police officers and social workers to use force on the children contained no claims of mistreatment.
A team of 20 social workers, police and special agents stormed the family’s home. HSLDA reported Judge Koenig, who is assigned to the Darmstadt family court, signed an order authorizing the immediate seizure of the children by force.
“Citing the parents’ failure to cooperate ‘with the authorities to send the children to school,’ the judge also authorized the use of force ‘against the children’ … reasoning that such force might be required because the children had ‘adopted the parents’ opinions’ regarding homeschooling and that ‘no cooperation could be expected’ from either the parents or the children,” HSLDA said at the time.
Dirk Wunderlich told the homeschool group: “I looked through a side window and saw many people, police and special agents, all armed. They told me they wanted to come in to speak with me. I tried to ask questions, but within seconds, three police officers brought a battering ram and were about to break the door in, so I opened it.”
He said police “shoved me into a chair and wouldn’t let me even make a phone call at first.”
“It was chaotic as they told me they had an order to take the children. At my slightest movement the agents would grab me, as if I were a terrorist. You would never expect anything like this to happen in our calm, peaceful village. It was like a scene out of a science-fiction movie. Our neighbors and children have been traumatized by this invasion.”
However, HSLDA said Thursday an appeals court has now decided that both social workers and parents should be criticized but the action against the children was “disproportional” to the allegations.
The ruling said “complete custody” of the children was to be returned to the parents, HSLDA said.
HSLDA said the Wunderlichs, “who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, were very pleased with the result but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.”
“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said. “The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate – only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”
He said the fear that the children will be removed has been taken away but the family faces other problems.
Written by BOB UNRUH
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