The perils of homeschooling: German police storm home, seize four children

In Darmstadt, Germany, police officers armed with guns and a battering ram stormed a home and seized four children because the family living there had defied a national ban on homeschooling. The officers were accompanied by a throng of social workers and special agents.

The terrifying team of about 20 government officials forcibly removed all four of the family’s children at around breakfast time on Thursday morning, according to a press release from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

The sole reason for the brutal abduction of the children is that the parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, have defied the German government’s ban on home education. There are no claims of mistreatment or neglect.

The children range in age from seven to 14.

German law requires that every child attend a government-authorized school until they reach a certain age.

“I looked through a window and saw many people police, and special agents, all armed,” Dirk Wunderlich said. “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.”

Wunderlich called the incident “chaotic” and said police treated him like 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,” the father of four said.

The homeschooling saga of the Wunderlichs has dragged on for four years. The family moved around the European Union in an effort to find a place where they can legally homeschool their children. They did find success, but Mr. Wunderlich couldn’t support find a job to support his family, claims the HSLDA. And so the family returned to Germany in 2012.

In October 2012, the local “Youth Welfare Office” in Darmstadt, 25 miles from Frankfurt in southwestern Germany, actually obtained legal custody of the children. A lengthy appeals process followed.