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The children of the last homeschooling family in Sweden soon may be dragged by police to a government-run school.
Marita and Tomas Sandberg apparently are the last couple homeschooling their kids in Sweden, where such education is banned. They’ve already been fined thousands of dollars.
“The national authorities are pressuring the municipality to consider even stronger options to get the children to school,” Jonas Himmelstrand, the president of the national Swedish homeschool association, said in an interview with the Home School Legal Defense Association. “The municipality has mentioned the use of force, including sending the police to pick up the children and take them to school, as a possibility.
“It is not clear whether Swedish law would allow for this possibility, but the threat is a stark reminder of the hostility that the Swedish government has towards anyone who would dare homeschool,” he added.
It is likely that every other homeschool family has left the Scandinavian nation of 9.8 million people, Himmelstrand added.
Himmelstrand and his family – who homeschool – are living in exile in Finland’s Aland Islands.
Homeschooling was legal in Sweden until 2010. Since then, most Swedish homeschooling families have fled.
Mike Donnelly, director of global outreach for HSLDA, said Sweden’s actions would violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which “makes it crystal clear … that parents have the prior right to choose the kind of education their children will receive.” Sweden is a party to the treaty.
“This latest threat to freedom has reminded me that Sweden, a country often touted as a model social democracy, is turning into a dystopia for anyone who does not conform to rigid patterns of accepted behavior,” he wrote. “… Early childhood education [in Sweden] is mandatory, and government-funded day care starts for children as early as age 1. It is the rare exception for a mother to stay home with her young children after the age of 2, and there is tremendous social pressure for women to re-enter the workforce as soon as possible after giving birth.”
HSDLA is collecting money to help the Sandbergs.
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