|Hibiscus - photo by A or J Stahl|
Normally, this would be an unusual action. However, the family has attempted to leave the country a couple of times and has changed cities to avoid child protective services and the courts. This would be entirely unusual in the United States due to our laws. However, German courts must consider the welfare, educational needs and rights of the children. In addition, they must consider the flight risk of the parents and all concerns of creating a detrimental parallel society. In such a case, one would not have right to travel during an ongoing investigation and hearing.
Typically, if a homeschool family is doing well academically and willing to pay the fees for not sending their children to traditional schools - and the children are well socialized and not at risk for creating a parallel society; the courts will continue to ask for fees every year rather than take such drastic measures. It is in the best interest of all children to remain with their parents when the child's welfare is not considered at risk. I would suggest reading up on the blog here, here and here before reading further if you are unfamiliar with this particular German case.
Here is the latest:
On the 18th of December, the courts in Darmstadt made a decision to remove partial custody of the children from the parents. Dirk and Petra Wunderlich were informed of this decision on Christmas Eve. The ruling will keep them firmly in Germany at this time.
Kath.net - : Christliche Hausschuleltern schitern erneut vor Gericht
As long as the parents agree to send their children to school full time, the courts will agree to give them back full custody.
RP Online: Schulverweigerer: Gericht entzieht Eltern Sorgerecht
The courts have declared rights to determination of residence [Aufenthaltsbestimmungsrecht] for the eight to fourteen-year-old children to keep them in the country. Their lawyer, Andreas Vogt said "This Court's scandalous decision reminds us of the former East German ruling that flight from the republic must be prevented." The Wunderlichs will be appealing this decision with the higher courts in Frankfurt am Main.
Idea.de - Christliche Hausschuleltern scheitern erneut vor Gericht
From American Sources:
“The right to homeschool is a human right,” said Farris. “So is the right to freely move and to leave a country. The act of seizing these four ...children is a very serious violation of ...human rights.”...
HSLDA: Attorney Says Seizure of Wunderlich Children Reminiscent of Communist Regime
...[The Judge] compared homeschooling to having the children wear a straitjacket and said he had to make sure the children remained in Germany so they would be integrated into society... “the children would grow up in a parallel society without having learned to be integrated or to have a dialogue with those who think differently and ... practicing tolerance.” ... [this] would be “concrete endangerment to the wellbeing of the child.”Update 1.9.2014:
World Net Daily: Judge: Homeschooling a 'concrete endangerment' to kids
You can find an English translation via the HSLDA on the court decision on December 18, 2013 here. I am actively looking for the decision that was made by the Higher Court in Frankfurt in September, and will post that here as soon as I can find it.