Precedent Breaking Decision for German Homeschool Family

In August 2000, German homeschoolers asked HSLDA for assistance. We provided support and encouragement to them in establishing their own national legal defense association: Schulunterricht zu Hause (School Instruction at Home).

In April of 2003, Schulunterricht zu Hause attorney Gabriele Eckermann successfully represented a family charged for disregarding the mandatory school attendance laws. At the beginning of the trial the judge indicated that he was predisposed to rule against the family. Thanks to Gabriele's effective advocacy for the family and homeschooling, the judge completely changed his mind and the family was acquitted on April 28, 2003.

The judge wrote that the parents were not preventing their children from receiving an education and were not ignoring their duty to educate their children. He recognized that they provided an alternative for their children which required significant dedication. The judge said that this dedication should set an example for many parents, who merely formally fulfill the mandatory attendance requirements.

This case is significant as it is the first formal recognition of the validity of homeschooling in Germany.