Education Sweden’s high court all but bans homeschooling, family appeals to ECHR


Sweden has a shameful record on home education and human rights.

Sweden’s high court all but bans homeschooling, family appeals to ECHR

After the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court ruled that a family cannot homeschool their eight-year-old daughter because they do not have “extraordinary circumstances” surrounding their need to teach from home, they are appealing their case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
“The ECHR has been quite hostile to homeschooling and also parental rights generally in education,” HSLDA Director of Global Outreach Mike Donnelly expressed. “Despite an unqualified command that the rights of parents must be respected, the ECHR’s jurisprudence has confused the right to education recognized in the European Convention on Human Rights with the notion that democracy and pluralism can only be protected by state teaching. This emboldens states like Germany and Sweden, who treat homeschooling families harshly.”
“Sweden isn’t the only country facing a challenge in Europe’s human rights court,” Donnelly, who is also a staff attorney for HSLDA, notes. “HSLDA and German attorneys are working to appeal other decisions to the European Court of Human Rights.

With the homeschool movement picking up across the globe, including in the United States, where more than 2 million are currently learning from home, Donnelly hopes the ECHR will be influenced to accommodate what more and more parents are doing — claiming their children’s education back from state control. He concedes, however, that the ECHR’s rulings to date indicate that its judges need a major change of heart to see things parents’ way.

“The court’s rulings have been undeniably statist —which is at odds with the nature of the treaty, which is to protect the rights of individuals against state infringements,” Donnelly maintains. “Somehow, the court has twisted the text that respects parental rights in education to mean that the state has a right to override parental decisions in education. This is tragic and misses the core promise of what human rights are all about — people have rights, states don’t.”