PURCELLVILLE, Va., Oct. 12, 2011 — Swedish officials on the Island of Gotland are seeking to terminate the parental rights of homeschool parents Christer and Annie Johansson. The latest development in this monumental homeschool rights case started when the state seized the parents seven year old son in June 2009. Domenic, now 9 years old, has been held in state foster care for more than 24 months.
News of these developments does not sit well in the homeschool community. “The United States Supreme Court has called the termination of parental rights the family court equivalent of the death penalty,” notes Michael Donnelly, Director of International Relations at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
Seven-year old Domenic Johansson was snatched by Swedish police in June 2009 from an airplane bound for India, his Mother’s homeland. Among the reasons given for the seizure was that Domenic was homeschooled. Since then his entire family has been denied virtually any contact with their son. HSLDA and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed a joint application on behalf of the Johansson family at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in June 2010 and have been working to support the family since shortly after Domenic’s seizure.
Both ADF and HSLDA are currently asking for letters to be written in an attempt to renew attention to the family’s case and to encourage Swedish officials to release Domenic back to his family.
“The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children simply because it doesn’t like homeschooling. That’s bad enough. But now the state is going even further by attempting to get the parents out of the way altogether,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “This simply cannot stand. We will do everything in our power to help reunite this family.”