Paul Beliën - Homeschooling Persecution

Homeschooling Persecution

This article may contain improper references to self-published sources. Please help improve it by removing references to unreliable sources, where they are used inappropriately.
This section of a biographical article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful.

In June 2006 a judicial enquiry was conducted regarding the homeschooling of Belien's children. The Flemish Ministry of Education had asked the judiciary to press charges on child neglect by failing to educate his children adequately. In 2003, the Flemish government adapted the executive order on compulsory education, requiring homeschooling parents to sign an agreement about the education they give their children. The declaration contains the following statement, inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:

The undersigned bind(s) themselves to give education that is aimed at the development of the full personality and talents of the child and at the preparation of the child on an active life as an adult, and that promotes the respect for the basic rights of man and for the cultural values of the child itself and of others.

If the parents fail to provide an adequate education for their children, as estimated by two state inspectors, the courts may force the child to attend a school.

Paul Belien and his wife, MP Alexandra Colen, have refused to sign the declaration, arguing that signing such a declaration "undermines the authority of parents and transfers it to the state".

John Kersey, an educational consultant and a British libertarian, in a pamphlet supporting the Beliën family, has stated that the government educational inspectors are held to no objective standards, that "their questioning of children is reported as being random and arbitrary" and that there is no right of appeal against their verdict. He claims the inspectors only have the purpose of removing children from homeschooling and force them into state schools based on the "authoritarian socialist views" of the Belgian powers in force.

Paul Belien, Alexandra Colen and others have speculated about a possible political agenda of dissident persecution behind what they call the state's "crackdown on homeschoolers". They argue that Belien was summoned to a police station to give a statement on 13 June 2006, shortly after the above mentioned incident with the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism. Kersey claims outright that "Dr Belien has incurred the wrath of the authorities as a result of expressing opinions that they find inconvenient, and as a result, any cause is being found to make his life difficult."

Read more about this topic:  Paul Beliën

Famous quotes containing the word persecution:

    That diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution rages among some [people] and to their eternal Infamy the clergy can furnish their Quota of Imps for such business.
    James Madison (1751–1836)