German police are now patrolling airports and highways in that country, not in search of explosives or weapons of any sort, or stopping drunk drivers or speeders, but in search of school-aged children whose parents have taken them out of school in order to take advantage of off-peak airline pricing.
You read that right. According to an article in the New York Times, German public school teachers are annoyed by the practice of parents of excusing their children from the last couple of days of class so that the family can get a head start on vacation and get a bit lower price on air fares.
Accordingly, before parents are allowed to take their kids out of school and head out on holiday, they must receive permission of their children’s teachers or face stiff fines imposed by the government.
From the story in the Times:
Before school ended on Friday for the two-week spring vacation in Bavaria, officers caught 21 families allowing their children to play hooky, the police confirmed on Wednesday.
Offending parents were reported to the school and to the local authorities. In Bavaria, that could mean a fine as high as 1,000 euros, or about $1,200, in the mail that piled up during a trip.
Yep, parents, if you fail to get permission from your children’s teachers, the government will hunt you down at the airport, and if you insist on boarding the plane and heading on holiday before school has officially ended, you’ll be forced to pay a fine for your disrespect of the teachers.
In an interview quoted in the Times, the head of one of Germany’s teachers’ unions, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, bemoaned the absentee increases around vacation time.
“Before the start and after the end of vacation, we see a big increase in children excused as being sick — in some cases, the rate can be double or triple the normal amount,” said Meidinger.
It’s not just the desire for deals that drive Germans to withdraw their kids from school a bit before the beginning of the summer vacations. According to the report in the Times, Germans are literally driving to get a head start on their holidays:
Even before the advent of inexpensive flights abroad, Germany’s autobahns would quickly fill to capacity on the first days of official breaks, causing lengthy traffic jams and making regular travel almost impossible. Partly to mitigate such chaos on the roads, school holidays in Germany are staggered from state to state.
Here’s more from the story, illuminating the attitude of German educrats on the horrors of holiday head starts.
A national law obliging school-age children to be in class during regular school hours was first passed in 1919. Exceptions, such as for illnesses or special occasions, need to be excused with a doctor’s note or a letter from parents, and they require approval from the school.
“When it comes to family reunions and the like, school administrations can be very accommodating, but not when it’s just about saving money on flights and hotels,” Meidinger said.
Parents are permitted by the government and teachers’ unions to take their children out of school for reasons approved by the apparatchiks, but Mom and Dad better not bail on school for some silly reason like their natural sovereignty over their own children!
The fact that teachers’ unions and bureaucrats would get bent out of shape about kids missing days of school is predictable and not particularly shocking. The part of the story that should send shudders through American parents of public school children is the role played by the police. And the role of law enforcement in carrying out the educrats’ edicts is not confined to airports and the police are pretty unfazed by their part in the enforcing the policy. Again, from the story in the New York Times:
The police in Bavaria described the action as just part of the routine duties that officers carry out at airports.
“It’s just as if we pulled over a car with a school-age child, we might well ask why they are not in school,” said Florian Wallner, a spokesman for the police in Allgäu, which has a small airport where 10 families received official notices.
Imagine that day in your town in the United States. You’ve excused your public-school attending children from their schools and are heading out of town and you see flashing blue and red lights in the rearview mirror. You pull over, asking the officer what you’ve done to deserve being stopped and he responds that he noticed you had school-aged children in your car and that as the school year was not over yet, you would need to explain the kids’ absence from their classes.
Whether this scenario will ever play out in the United States depends on how far we, the people, are willing to permit the government to intrude into every decision made within the four walls of their homes. So far, we’ve proven ourselves to be very accommodating of tyranny.
Think of this, though. How many conservative, constitutionally-minded Americans willingly send their children to public schools during the day and then at night complain about having to deprogram their children after they’ve been subject all day long to the lies and Leftist agenda that are the core of the curriculum of public schools?
The Gestapo-like German crackdown on families’ attempts to set the schedule for their children is a warning to Americans, not least of all because our own public education system was based in substantial part on the Prussian model in place in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Finally, there is this germane (see what I did there?) quote from18th Century Scottish economist Adam Smith regarding compulsory education:
The discipline of colleges and universities is in general contrived, not for the benefit of the students, but for the interest, or more properly speaking, for the ease of the masters. Its object is, in all cases, to maintain the authority of the master, and whether he neglects or performs his duty, to oblige the students in all cases to behave to him as if he performed it with the greatest diligence and ability. It seems to presume perfect wisdom and virtue in the one order, and the greatest weakness and folly in the other. Where the masters, however, really perform their duty, there are no examples, I believe, that the greater part of the students ever neglect theirs. No discipline is ever requisite to force attendance upon lectures which are really worth the attending, as is well known wherever any such lectures are given.
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