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White House to home-schooling family: Sorry, no comment

WASHINGTON (RNS) The White House punts on a petition to allow a German home-schooling family to stay in the U.S., saying the administration can't comment on "a matter before the courts."

The Romeike family studies around a table at home. Photo courtesy Home School Legal Defense Association
“In Germany there is basically religious freedom, but it ends at least with teaching the children,” Uwe Romeike (pictured here teaching his son) says in a video produced by the Home School Legal Defense Association, the Christian organization providing the family’s legal support. Photo courtesy Home School Legal Defense Association

“In Germany there is basically religious freedom, but it ends at least with teaching the children,” Uwe Romeike (pictured here teaching his son) says in a video produced by the Home School Legal Defense Association, the Christian organization providing the family’s legal support. Photo courtesy Home School Legal Defense Association

WASHINGTON (RNS) Remember the case of the evangelical home-schooling family who was fighting deportation because they feared prosecution back home in Germany? Some 127,000+ people petitioned the White House to give “full and permanent legal status” to Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their children.

The White House has now responded (sort of) via its We the People online petition site:

The We the People Terms of Participation explain that “the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.” To the extent that these petitions request a particular law enforcement or adjudicatory action, or address a matter before the courts, we cannot issue a comment.

But while we can’t comment on this particular issue, we know that homeschooling is a popular option for many parents pursuing high academic standards for their children. Homeschooling can provide young people with the resources and attention they need to succeed academically, and we understand why their parents value this freedom.

What’s next? The Romeikes’ attorneys are vowing to take their case to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court ruled against them.