The Romeike family, formerly of Germany, now calls Morristown, Tennessee, home. Ben Waldon of ABC News writes that the Romeikes were forced to flee Germany in 2008 because of their desire to home-school their seven children. Home-schooling was banned in Germany in 1918. Had the family stayed in Germany, it could have faced legal action, fines and the possibility of losing custody of the children.
Because of the family’s devout Christian beliefs, a Memphis judge granted the family asylum based on the fact that their religious freedom had been compromised. Michael Donnelly of the Home School Legal Defense Association told ABC News that there had been a determination after the Supreme Court refused to hear the family’s appeal.
That decision was challenged and overturned on an appeal, which argued that Germany’s home-schooling ban did not constitute religious persecution and could not be used as a basis for asylum in the United States.
The family has had its “deferred action,” status extended indefinitely, which means as long as the Romeikes stay out of trouble and stay in contact with the Department of Homeland Security, they won’t be deported, Donnelly said.
An article written by Dr. Susan Berry for Breitbart News states that when the announcement of the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear the Romeikes’ petition, Fox News informed HSLDA that one million page views of the Romeike family’s reprieve announcement were recorded in a 24-hour period, a record high number of views.
Even though the family will be unable to apply for United States citizenship any time soon, they are thankful for their current status and simply want to live peacefully and continue to home-school their children.
Before fleeing to the U.S. in 2008, the Romeike parents had been threatened with fines and possible jail time in Germany because they chose to home-school their children. Germany’s highest court has asserted that its ban on home=schooling is designed to ensure that religious home-schoolers do not become a “parallel society.”
At this point, the Home School Legal Defense Association has taken on the cause of supporting German families who are victims of the country’s persecution of parents who want to home-school their children. They assert that it is the parents’ right to decide how they want their children educated, not that of the government.
There are some legal experts who believe that Germany has a right to expect that children will attend school. It is the belief of Germany’s government that interacting with other children outside of the family circle is healthy for young people. Going against the legislation of the German governing bodies, according to some in the legal field, is unacceptable.
Professor Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, says that religious tenants are not the only reason that some families prefer to home-school their children. “I’ve met many non-Christian parents who would say the same thing: it’s not the government’s job to indoctrinate my children,” he says.