Dagmar and Tilman Neubronner are German parents who homeschool their sons Moritz and Thomas. The parents are both educated and have published books (Genius Press).
The Neubronner family previously lived in the Allgu in the south of Germany, and helped establish a Montessori school in 2001. In 2005 the family moved to Bremen in the north, and the children started school. After the move, the children wished to stay home instead of attending school, and complained of tummy aches, headaches, heart aches and nightmares. Herr and Frau Neubronner had many talks with doctors, public health authorities, teachers and the school headmistress. The parents considered leaving Germany, but finally enrolled their sons with Clonlara school of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Since then the situation has deteriorated. The Neubronners sent out the following email:
1) Our sons have been monitored (about once a month) by two school teachers during the last school year, wrote tests and received positive school reports on the basis of this monitoring. The teachers are willing to continue. Nevertheless this procedure is not tolerated any longer. We are acutely threatened with 6000 fine (jail if we do not pay this sum) in case we do not force our unwilling children to school and make sure they go every day from August 30 2007 on. We cannot and do not want to pay this amount, so we will possibly get imprisoned. We are ready to endure this because it could be a strong signal for the public discussion if well-educated, well-integrated, intellectual parents (no trace of a “parallel society”) get imprisoned because of compulsory schooling. We need strong public attention and support by letters, newsletter articles and so on. We will keep you informed.
2) We sued against our education authority, lost the first trial but were admitted to appeal, which we did. The appeal court denies us the usual financial legal aid for poor complainants because of “missing prospect of success”, so we will have to pay for all court costs. Since the appeal court who denies us legal aid is the same who will judge about our case there is little hope that we will win this appeal trial. We made a constitutional complaint against this discrimination – not giving us legal aid for “missing prospect of success”, although appeal was admitted because of “general, fundamental importance of the case” – at the Federal Constitutional Court but do not know if we will succeed. If we really will have to pay all court and attorney costs, these will be several thousand “. We will need help with this, but it is not acute yet.
3) Authorities in Germany always claim a constitutionally based “state responsibility for education” (Erziehungsauftrag) which is said to be of (at least) equal rank with the education responsibility of the parents. This is not true, article 6 of the German constitution says that it is in the first place the right and duty of the parents to take care for their children. Article 7 only says that the state has supervision about the school system’. Nevertheless, German Federal Constitutional Court Justices decided in several cases there was an independent state responsibility for education. We engaged a young constitution specialist, jurist Johannes Goldbecher (Rostock, Germany), to write a detailed scientific expertise. This expertise will be of great value for all homeschooling families in Germany and their attorneys. The price for this lengthy report is only 1500 , because the author is young and wants to help us. But our recent income as independent publishers is very low (less then welfare aid in Germany), so we need help, especially since there are lots of other court costs threatening us as described above.
If you need further information please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Financial help is welcome and can be directed to our account:
Dagmar and Tilman Neubronner
[note: donations can be made to the following account]
Postbank Dortmund BLZ: 440 100 46
Account No. 353738 465
IBAN: DE78 4401 0046 0353 7384 65
Since I received this email the other day, Dagmar Neubronner has posted a blog report about how they are dealing with the impending fine and possible jail time.
Neubronner case: only 3 days left until E6000 fine or Jail?, 27 August 2007, Learning Freely Network
“What shall we do on Thursday?”
We read and re-ead the official letter threatening us with 6000 fine or jail. Our children do not want to go to school at all, and we do not want to force them. The order reads “Order to take care for the school attendance of your children Thomas and Moritz Neubronner”. So what shall we do?
Well, we’ll try our very best. We will take care that our children will visit the school every day. They’ll be there in time. We will accompany them personally to make sure that we did everything to take care for their school attendance. But what, if they do not want to stay in school?
Other information — variously in English or German (translation site) — about the Neubronners is at:
- Vorbereitung eines Antrags auf Erlaubnis zum Homeschooling in Bremen (Preparation of a request for permission to homeschool in Bremen), personal history, timeline of the Neubronners, information about homeschooling in Europe
- Germany “Officials” At It Again (blog post by Dagmar Neubronner), 20 August 2007, Learning Freely Network
- Wille vs. Recht (Will vs. Law), February 2007, Brand Eins magazine [note: graphic-rich document; expect to wait for download]
- Internationales Kolloquium zur Home Education (International Colloquium on Home Education), 27 – 29 April 2007, Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit (Educational Freedom Network)
- Neubronner family talking about homeschooling (TV magazine program) 13 September 2006, Stern TV
- Als Nordlichter im Allgu (As a Northern Light in the Allgu), “Dagmar Neubronner’s search for a community. The eco-settlement of Oberstaufen-Aach in the southern Allgu on the border of Austria – eco-village with its own combined heat and power station, bio houses and Montessori school.”
- Gericht: Schule ist Pflicht (Court: School is Duty), 9 November 2006, Kardiologie Bremen
posted by Valerie
German homeschooling, Neubronner family