The German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht – BVG) has declined to hear a case brought by Christian parents who, in view of questionable “sex education” and other controversial content of the official school curricula, had refused to send their children to school, preferring to teach them at home. In the Land of Hessen, where the applicants live, parents who refuse handing over their children to the state or a state-approved school can be punished with up to six months in prison, or a fine amounting to one half of their yearly income. The BVG decided that this sanction was not disproportionate and further clarified that it could be imposed separately and cumulatively in respect of each of the couple’s nine children.
Remarkably, the Court acknowledged that the applicants’ children were not at all lacking education, and that, when passing official examinations, they had indeed obtained far better than average results. This nonwithstanding, the Court found that transferring knowledge was not the only purpose of shool education, but that public schools also had the purpose of preventing the establishment of “parallel societies”, for example of Christian families living strictly according to the gospel.
Unfortunately, the BVG failed to provide any explanation as to how it deems all this to be compatible with Article 2 of the 1st Protocol to the European Human Rights Convention, which acknowledges that “in the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions”.
Link: full text of the Decision (in German)