Swedish Govt slammed for seizing home ed boy
Fri, 8 Jan 2010
Christian home-schooling parents who had their son taken away by Swedish Government officials have lost their court case to have him returned.
Dominic Johansson, who is just seven years old, was taken away from his parents in 2008 and a court has now ruled that the Government was within its rights to do so.
Critics have called Dominic’s removal a “disgraceful” abuse of power.
Christer and Annie Johansson had boarded a plane with their son to India, Mrs Johansson’s home country, when officials seized Dominic.
In December a Swedish court decided that the Government’s actions were within the law.
It cited the fact that the young boy had not been vaccinated as a reason for taking him away from his parents.
The court also claimed that home-schooled children do not perform well academically or mix well with others.
Swedish social services initially limited the couple’s visits to Dominic to two hours per week but have since cut that to one hour every fifth week.
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), an American organisation which defends religious liberty, and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which works to uphold the legal rights of home-schooling families, are supporting the Johanssons.
The organisations are advising the couple in their bid to have Dominic returned to them.
ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska said: “Parents have the right and authority to make decisions regarding their children’s education without Government interference.”
He added: “This is about a socialist Government trying to create a cookie-cutter child in its own image.
“Without help, the parents in these cases are really powerless since the system is so one-sided.”
HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly said: “It’s one of the most disgraceful abuses of power we have ever witnessed.”
Mr Donnelly added: “We have heard that other home-schooling families in Sweden are having more difficulty with local officials.
“We fear that all home-schooling families in that country are at risk.”
In September an American girl who had been educated at home by her Christian mother was ordered to attend a Government-run school so she could learn about other belief systems.
A court conceded that the New Hampshire ten-year-old was bright, sociable and academically advanced for her age, but decided she should no longer be home schooled.
The reason, her mother’s attorney said, was simply that the girl’s “religious beliefs are a bit too sincerely held” and need to be “mixed among other worldviews”.
The little girl’s parents are divorced and in a meeting to re-negotiate her parenting plan the official appointed to represent the girl’s interests raised concerns about her religious beliefs.
The guardian ad litem told the court that the girl “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith” and that the girl’s interests “would be best served by exposure to a public school setting”.