It’s a scene typical of a cop show: A fugitive is scrambling across an icy road to escape his relentless pursuer. There’s a brief separation, but the gap closes.
The fugitive ascends a snowy hillside, clutching to pull himself up as the pursuer gets closer.
Finally, arms and hands make contact. The fugitive pitches down a hillside and the capture is made.
In this case it’s reality, not fiction.
And it’s police in Norway pursuing and capturing a 12-year-old student … for the offense of being a homeschool student.
See it for yourself, in this video from the Home School Legal Defense Association:
During the chase, the student’s mother is screaming: “Some people, please help. I need people to help!”
HSLDA has launched an online petition campaign to complain to the Norwegian embassy in the U.S. about the “atrocious treatment” that to Americans is absolutely “intolerable,” explained the situation.
Jim Mason, the group’s vice president of litigation and development, said Leif and Terese Kristiansen had moved from Canada, where Terese and son Kai are citizens, to Norway in search of opportunities.
Kai, 12, immediately was the target of bullies at the local school, so his parents “removed him from the school and immediately began to homeschool him.”
They were just doing what the school should have done, the report said, “Keep Kai safe and provide him with a health learning environment.”
But local government officials wouldn’t tolerate that and dispatched agents of the Barnevernet, the nation’s child protective services, and cops.
In the video, HSLDA said: “Kai’s mother, Terese, looks on in terror, screaming for help as Kai is chased by the police and the Barnevernet. ‘My son is being stolen by Barnevernet in Norway because we want to homeschool!’ Terese shouted as helpless friends and neighbors watched.”
Kai is screaming “No!” as he is captured and taken into government custody.
It was, according to Ray Skorstad of Barnets Beste, which helps parents whose children have been the subject of government seizure orders, a “brutal invasion of the family without sufficient justification.”
Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s director of global outreach, said Kai’s mother told him: “We had hoped that we would be welcomed in our own home country. But I am living a nightmare; I can’t believe what they did to my son.”
Donnelly previously fought the Barnevernet in his support of the Bodinariu family, whose children were taken when authorities disagreed with the Christian values of the family several years ago. He said the homeschool community needs to come together.
“An attack like this is an attack on homeschooling,” he said. “Parents are the ones who have the right to decide how their children are educated and what is best for them. Parents do not have to give a reason for homeschooling, but the Kristiansens were well-justified in taking their son out of school in order to keep him from being bullied.”
He said the schooling dispute “is no justification” to tackle a child by force.
“As of right now, the family has been permitted only one weekly supervised two-hour visit with Kai. Although a court hearing is scheduled for February 15, it would be a miracle if the authorities were to immediately release Kai. Let’s pray that happens,” he said.
Kai’s father told HSLDA that the local school situation was so dangerous that he was worried about his son’s “mental and physical health.”
The family’s Oslo-based lawyer, Trond Olsen Næss, said the family had been in contact with the agency. And the family confirmed they were in the process of finding a new school in which to enroll their son when the attack happened.
The petition contends international law is on the parents’ side and they have “a right to privacy and protection from unwarranted state intrusion.”
WND has a long history of reporting on the case of Dominic Johansson, who was “state-napped” by authorities in neighboring Sweden when he was 7 for being homeschooled.
The government eventually simply ordered his parents’ rights terminated and he was kept in state custody.
He was grabbed by agents in 2009 from a jetliner as his parents were set to leave for India. It sparked a global outcry among human rights activists and home educators, and the Home School Legal Defense Association and the Alliance Defending Freedom had gone to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge Sweden’s actions.
Numerous experts and attorneys have described the Johansson case as a brazen example of “state-napping.”
In the case, legal experts have said Swedish officials violated multiple human rights enshrined in international treaties to which the Swedish government is a party, including the right of parents to direct the education of their children, family life, due process and travel.
It was last fall that a House committee has approved a bill that would offer protection in the U.S. for homeschoolers who are persecuted in foreign countries.
The Home School Legal Defense Association at the time praised the recent decision by the House Judicial Committee to advance H.R. 391, the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act of 2017.
At issue was the status of the Romeike family, who were under threat of being forcibly returned to Germany by the Obama administration.
A U.S. court granted the homeschooling family asylum, but Obama administration lawyers appealed the ruling, and it was overturned.
In Germany, authorities likely would pursue jail sentences for the parents for homeschooling their children.
“The stories of the Romeikes and other families such as the Wunderlichs in Germany, the Rigals in Cuba, and the Sandbergs in Sweden demonstrate the repression faced by some families just because they want to homeschool their children,” HSLDA said in a statement.
“We enjoy great liberty in the U.S., but as homeschooling grows, it is facing resistance in a number of countries.”
WND reported in 2013 when the government took custody of the Wunderlich children, then ages 7 to 14, from their Darmstadt, Germany, home.
The SWAT team, authorized by a judge to use force if necessary, took the children and told the Wunderlichs they wouldn’t see them again soon because they were violating federal law by homeschooling them.
Dirk Wunderlich told HSLDA: “I looked through a side window and saw many people, police and special agents, all armed. They told me they wanted to come in to speak with me. I tried to ask questions, but within seconds, three police officers brought a battering ram and were about to break the door in, so I opened it.”
Weeks later, the children were returned home, and a year later an appeals court decided both social workers and parents should be criticized, but the action against the children was “disproportional” to the allegations. The ruling returned custody of the children to their parents.
In the case of the Romeike family, parents Uwe and Hannalore were threatened with fines, jail time and loss of custody of their children had they remained in Germany and continued homeschooling. They made the choice because of teaching in public schools on homosexuality, abortion and other issues that violated the family’s Christian faith.
They fled to the U.S. and sought asylum, only to be turned away by the Obama administration.
Homeschooling has been banned in Germany since the Hitler era. WND has reported over the years on a German teen who was ordered into a psychiatric ward for being homeschooled and parents who were sentenced to jail terms for homeschooling their children.
The contemporary German government has endorsed Hitler’s view of homeschooling. In 2003, the German Supreme Court handed down the Konrad decision in which “religiously or philosophically motivated” homeschooling was banned.
Four years later, the German Federal Parliament changed a key provision of German child protection law, making it easier for children to be taken away from their parents for supposed “educational neglect.”