German home schoolers granted U.S. political asylum

Associated Press - 1/27/2010 5:50:00 AM

PURCELLVILLE, VA- A German couple who fled to Tennessee so they could home school their children has been granted political asylum by an immigration judge in Memphis. (See earlier story:

The decision clears the way for Uwe Romeike his wife and five children to stay in Morristown, Tennessee, where they have been living since 2008.

German law requires children to attend public or private schools, and parents can face fines or prison time if they don't comply. Romeike, an evangelical Christian, said he believes Germany's curriculum is "against Christian values."

The family was represented by the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association. HSLDA staff attorney Mike Donnelly says the family is delighted. "They were relieved and grateful. They've been living here for 18 months [and] they've really enjoyed it," says the attorney. "They love the freedom; they like not having to look over their shoulder, waiting for somone to try to catch them and fine them or take their children away."

He hopes the ruling will influence public opinion in Germany, where German officials are hostile to all home schooling. "In Germany they want to try to stamp out parallel societies," he reports. "They think home schoolers are somehow parallel societies, which is silly."

Donnelly says an appeal by the government is possible but not likely. "They do sometimes do that, so we won't know for a little while -- but I would tend to doubt that they will do that," he states.