Emory International Law Review


Luke Julian


The Romeikes, a family from Germany, sought to educate their children in accordance with their religious values. The family observed that no local schools educated children in alignment with their values. In response, the family sought an exemption from Germany’s homeschooling ban. In a string of court cases, Germany refused to accommodate the family’s request, finding that the parents’ right to educate their children in alignment with their values was outweighed by the state’s obligation to educate. With no recourse left in Germany, the parents petitioned the European Court of Human Rights to recognize their right to homeschool according to their values. In Konrad v. Germany, the European Court of Human Rights refused to recognize such a right, finding that Germany’s homeschool ban was within the “margin in appreciation” given to countries for differences in education policy. This decision allowed Germany to pursue harsh enforcement actions against the Romeikes, like forcing them to send their children to public school. Ultimately, the Romeikes fled Germany and sought asylum in the United States. The European Court of Human Rights’ decision is problematic because it departs from the plain meaning of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court’s ruling is also dangerous because it allows governments unparalleled opportunities to indoctrinate future generations by forcing them to attend schools that teach values regulated by the government. The case’s harsh results highlight the troubling legality of Germany’s homeschooling ban. In response, this Comment offers both a textual basis for its removal under the European Convention on Human Rights and policy arguments supporting this result.