If you’re like most parents, you want the best for your children, especially when it comes to education.
But to what lengths would you go to achieve that best? Would you be willing to risk arrest by the government in order to choose the best education for your child?
That’s the situation the Romeike family faced a number of years ago when they lived in Bissingen, Germany. They chose to homeschool their young grade school age children even though homeschooling was illegal in Germany. The reason? Their children were bullied and scared about the violence they were facing in their local state school.
That choice resulted in a visit from police, and soon three of their children, ages six to nine, were hauled off in a police vehicle and forced to attend the official state school. Recounting the 2006 incident, father Uwe Romeike told one media outlet that he “felt very helpless,” going on to note, “My children were crying, the police were shouting.”
Faced with hefty fines, the Romeikes fled Germany for America in 2008, seeking asylum. Settling in Tennessee, the family continued homeschooling while they fought for protection from their German persecutors. In 2014, the Department of Homeland Security allowed the family to stay in the U.S. “under order of supervision and indefinite deferred action status,” according to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.
The family—which has now grown to include two more children and two in-laws since the trauma in Germany—has continued to dwell in the U.S. for over a decade, living peacefully and homeschooling their children.
On Sept. 6, 2023, the Romeikes went in for their annual immigration visit and were shocked when they were told they had four weeks to get their passports in order and self-deport to Germany. “The family had no prior warning, and was offered no explanation, other than that there had been a ‘change of orders,’” a Home School Legal Defense Association media posting explained.
There are a number of political questions one could raise from that little “change of orders” phrase, particularly given the border issues which seem to be front and center on the national stage right now. But let’s just leave those aside and focus solely on the issue of education and parental rights.
The Romeike family fled Germany because the state basically said they didn’t have parental rights. They didn’t have a choice on how or where to educate their children. They didn’t have the option to protect their children from the bullies their kids encountered in school.
In essence, the German state was saying it knew what was best for the Romeike children. They were the experts, not the parents, and the German state was bound and determined that they were going to enforce what they thought best.
“So what?” I can almost hear you say. “We live in America. It’s too bad that the Romeikes had to go through that, and will likely have to go through it again when they return to Germany, but that’s not going to happen here. Why should we care?”
I hate to break it to you, but have you noticed that things aren’t the same any more in this land of the free? In fact, America has its own educational experts who seem to think they know what’s better for kids than parents do, so much so, that the National School Boards Association sent a letter to President Joe Biden insinuating that those who challenge or speak out against the public schools are guilty of “domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
This shouldn’t surprise us, for families and children have long been in the crosshairs of those unfriendly to the principles and values America was founded on. Take, for instance, the Communist goals delineated in W. Cleon Skousen’s 1958 work, The Naked Communist. Number 17 reads:
Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
Number 40 reads:
Discredit the family as an institution.
And Number 41 reads:
Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
I’ll let you be the judge of whether these goals established nearly 70 years ago have taken root in our own education systems. If not, then there’s really nothing to worry about. But if so, then everyone would be wise to heed the story of the Romeike family, because someday soon, you, too, may see your children dragged off to a school they’re afraid to attend.
Image Credit: The Romeike family, as featured on HSLDA.