German home-school family flees to Austria

31st August 2006, Comments 0 comments

31 August 2006, HAMBURG - A German couple who are determined to educate their six children entirely at home were believed Wednesday to have taken refuge in Austria after the father, Andre R, 44, was jailed for a week for refusing to enrol his offspring in a public school. The family are evangelical Christians who believe that public schools are a bad moral influence on children. Home schooling is common in other nations, but prohibited in Germany. Politicians on the left and right have condemned the family

31 August 2006

HAMBURG - A German couple who are determined to educate their six children entirely at home were believed Wednesday to have taken refuge in Austria after the father, Andre R, 44, was jailed for a week for refusing to enrol his offspring in a public school.

The family are evangelical Christians who believe that public schools are a bad moral influence on children. Home schooling is common in other nations, but prohibited in Germany.

Politicians on the left and right have condemned the family and praised Hamburg officials who are seeking custody of the children. "The state has a duty to all children," Christian Democrat Robert Heinemann told the newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt.

The family left Hamburg Saturday after the fundamentalist Christian father had spent a week among criminals at the city jail.

City authorities confirmed that the family were no longer legally domiciled in Hamburg, but said efforts to seize custody of the three school-age daughters would continue. The daily newspaper Bild said it had traced the family to a Christian hostel in Austria.

Austria allows home-schooling, with yearly checks to ensure that children have been taught the syllabus by their parents.

Armin Eckermann, a lawyer who heads an association backing the family and campaigning to introduce home-schooling, refused comment.

DPA

Subject: German news

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