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Spanish Authorities Crack Down on Homeschooling

Sat 24th Sep 2011

A recent court ruling has overturned the initial decision to force the parents of a Spanish boy to make their child attend a state school, as opposed to bing educated at home.

However, this does not set a clear precedence and pave the way for fully legalising the issue of Homeschooling. According to reports compiled by the international Home School Legal Defense Association, dozens of families who choose to educate their child at home are still involved in disputes with the Spanish state.

"We're facing an urgent situation," said Daragh McInerney, president of La Asociacion para la Libre Education, according to the HSLDA. "There are at least 25 families in Spain that I am personally aware of, who are facing difficulties with the authorities over homeschooling," he said.

In the case outlined above, the HSLDA provided a legal brief and organized a petition opposing the initial court instruction, and the appeal was heard successfully.

The family from Alicante, credited the intervention of the American organization for their success.

"This is an important victory for the Gonzalez family, and I'm sure it's encouraging for other Spanish homeschooling families," said Michael Donnelly, the director of international affairs for the HSLDA, "And I'm sure it's encouraging for other Spanish homeschooling families.

But NcInerney told HSLDA that there are an unprecedented number of legal disputes pending between homeschooling families and various authorities in Spain.

The HSLDA reported that until recently, conflicts between homeschooling families and the authorities were rare, but the bureaucracy has changed quickly from one of indifference to one of active hostility.

Reasons for choosing Homeschooling can be many and varied, and if a child is expiencing difficulties with their new language, or has special needs it can in theory seem to be an attractive alternative for parents to consider.

Many European countries offer this alternative under International law, the European Convention and other treaties that span has signed a commitment to.

Sergio Saavedra, a Spanish attorney who recently started homeschooling his children, told HSLDA the change developed only a year ago. "In 2010 our Spanish constitutional court issued a case that was unfavorable for homeschoolers. We have heard that the administration in Madrid has told prosecutors to more aggressively prosecute homeschoolers," he said.