Supporters payed the entire 15 000 USD fine
The Swedish family who where fined 15 000 USD for homeschooling at the threat of distraint have had their fine payed through tremendous outside support. “It is an enormous relief”, says the family, “and we are deeply grateful for the support.”
The full story leading up to this exorbitant fine is told in our previous press release ”Homeschooling family fined 15 000 USD by the Swedish Supreme Court”.
Why the fine had to be paid
It was the threat of distraint that made the family realise the fine had to be paid. Already heavily affected by the forced leave of their country, the family did not want a new painful process with personal belongings and property at risk. The father says: ”We were forced to leave the country with short notice, and the financial costs and emotional pain has been heavy. We could not bear any more intrusions into our private lives from the Swedish authorities.” As the family still has a business and property in Sweden, the Swedish Enforcement Agency could have seized their property.
The success of the ROHUS Fine Fund
The ROHUS Find Fund was successful at gathering most of the fine. A few days before the due date on September 26th the fund had collected almost 80% of the full 15 000 USD, all from private people, almost all Swedes. Finally one person intervened and paid the rest. The family did not have to pay a single dollar. Still money has continued to flow into the Fine Fund after the due date. Clearly this fine has deeply upset many Swedes.
“We cannot state how grateful we are to those people who from private money has supported us to pay this fine. We can’t even think of what we would have done without this fantastic support. We feel solidly supported, which give us a lot of strength to keep standing and keep moving on with our lives. It also shows that the Swedish homeschooling policies are considered absurd by many Swedes.”
The Swedish juridicial system seriously questioned
With the family saved ROHUS still finds the fine deeply worrisome. How can such a fine survive all through the the legal system and the Supreme Administrative Court? Of course, a local public official can make a juridical misjudgement, or a bad mistake, or even decide to be mean to someone they don’t like – all of which seems to have happened in this case. But the truly frightening part is that such a mistake has survived through the entire Swedish legal system. This puts the whole Swedish juridicial system in serious question as it violates basic principles of democratic legal systems and human rights. The fine is being appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.
Is Swedish democracy still working?
Unfortunately this family is not the only case, or even the worst case. Other homeschooling families have fared much worse, such as the family of Dominic Johansson who was taken in custody by the authorities more that three years ago, and not yet returned, now with the risk he will never be returned to his parents. There are also many other cases of serious misjudgements by the Swedish social authorities.
Also there are thousands of Swedish children who practically never go to school for various reasons and neither are home schooled, but their parents are not fined. Truancy is not fined, only conscious well-planned home education. It is beliefs and ideology which is fined. Given that the Swedish schools are in a comparatively poor state, it all simply does not add up for a normal western democracy respecting human rights. However, it does add up for an ideology-driven semi-dysfunctional democracy. ROHUS will work towards future Swedish governments correcting this flaw in Swedish democracy.
ROHUS – The Swedish Association for Home Education – is a religiously and politically unaffiliated organisation supporting the right to home educate in Sweden regardless of motivation or beliefs. Several of the home educating board members now live in exile in Finland and the United States.
Home education is the world’s fastest growing form of schooling and has proven to give excellent results both socially and academically.