Wow, I was so thrilled to read the news that Melissa Busekros is now back home with her family in Erlangen, Germany! Today is her 16th birthday, giving her some rights that she previously did not possess. The Youth Welfare Office should no longer have any authority over her.
We have been praying, with thousands of others, for this outcome. We continue to pray for the many other German homeschooling families still being persecuted. I wonder what the situation would look like if Melissa were say, only 13 years old? Would that mean three more years in confinement away from her family?
There are efforts underway by several groups within Germany to push for education reform and the reversal of the law making homeschooling illegal. The Kolloquium being held this weekend in Germany (April 27-29), hosted by Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit, is the second annual International Colloquim on Home Education, the goal being freedom of choice in education. If you’d like to make a contribution to this cause, that’s a practical way to give assistance. Most people I know are ignorant of the gravity of this situation. Please investigate.
Dana reports that a “Birthday Action” is planned on behalf of Melissa. The idea is to light 16 candles (on a cake? or not) and take a picture – send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The goal is for 123 families to take part, so a total of 1,968 candles may be lit, one for each hour Melissa has been held hostage by the state. The pictures will then be posted here. I’ll post my picture later today!
For some other ideas on actions you can take, visit Kinderlehrer’s site, and browse through her posts on who to appeal to in the government, and ideas for letters to write, among other particulars.
Another interesting action to look into is the possibility of providing asylum to German families who are fleeing the country or going into hiding to avoid the tragedy of Melissa – their children being stolen away. An article I read recently quoted Home School Legal Defense Association co-founder, Michael Farris as saying:
Most homeschoolers have concluded when the family courts begin to get involved, their only realistic opportunity is to seek asylum in another country. You don’t expect to apply for political asylum from a Western democracy but that’s what’s happening and with greater frequency.
The philosophy that the government knows best how to raise children is really becoming a worldwide phenomenon. I think Germany represents the edge of the night that’s coming.
I was wondering, and perhaps someone out there can inform me — is there a need for people to be offering asylum? Here in America, how would one go about offering asylum? Would German families even want to come here? Legally, does the United States grant asylum to individuals wanting to escape a fellow “democratic” nation? Just thinking.
UPDATE: See Dana’s update regarding the startling details of of Melissa’s return home. A refusal by the Youth Welfare Office to allow Melissa to visit her parents for her birthday led her to climb out her foster family’s window at 3 a.m. and make her way home! Expect some further action here. She apparently has not yet been discharged from the foster care system, and the Youth Welfare Office is saying they will carefully consider further steps “in the interests of the child.” If their consideration of the best interest of Melissa is the guiding light here, expect more travesty of justice.