STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Jan. 17, 2012 — A leader of Sweden’s Liberal Party last week called for a change in the country’s social services law so that the government can take children away from home-schooling families more easily by allowing social workers to do so.
The call for the change comes amidst already stringent penalties in Sweden for home schooling. The Home School Legal Defense Association and Alliance Defense Fund and have applied to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of one family whose child was abducted by the government in 2009 and have filed a brief in a Swedish appellate court on behalf of another family fined an amount equivalent to $26,000.
“The right of parents to choose the kind of education their children receive is a fundamental human right recognized in international legal documents including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sweden has lost its way and is ignoring basic human rights joining Germany in repressing educational freedom. It’s important that free people stand up to governments who persecute their own people,” said Donnelly
“Parents have the right and authority to make decisions regarding their children’s education without government interference,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “Swedish policy on home education is at odds with recognized international legal standards that uphold the right of parents to direct the education of their children.”
Liberal Party politician Lotta Edholm called for the change to the country’s social services law in a Jan. 10 column in Aftonbladet, a prominent Swedish newspaper. Edholm then wrote on her blog: “Today I write with Ann-Katrin Aslund on Aftonbladet’s debate page that the social services law should be amended so that social services are able to intervene when children are kept away from school by their parents — often for religious or ideological reasons.”
The statement is the most direct and serious threat to date for home-schooling families in the Nordic country, where the climate for home-schooling has continued to deteriorate. The Swedish Court of Appeal has agreed to review three different cases in which government officials denied permission to home-school.
“ADF and HSLDA will continue to defend home-schooling families in Sweden and other European countries until we win,” Donnelly said.