10 Oct 2012

German homeschooling family fail in asylum bid

2:46 pm on 10 October 2012

A German family who came to New Zealand to avoid prosecution for homeschooling their children have failed in their bid for refugee status.

Gerno and Andrea Schöneich claimed that the teaching of their four children about Darwinism, neo-Marxist critical theory and sex education in school was in conflict with their Christian beliefs.

The children have been homeschooled since arriving in New Zealand in 2008 and since applying for asylum Mr Schöneich has gained a work visa to teach at a Christian school.

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal said there is no international right to homeschooling and the family was not being persecuted.

It said education includes the elimination of ignorance and the improvement of access to scientific and technical knowledge.

The tribunal said there is no international right to homeschooling and the prosecution the family faced for keeping their children away from school did not amount to persecution.

Home Education Foundation national director Barbara Smith says the family could be deported if Mr Schöneich's work visa is not renewed, and they would then be under threat in Germany of being fined, jailed or having their children removed.