12-Year-Old Homeschooler Returned after Being Tackled by Norwegian Officials

Purcellville, Virginia, UNITED STATES

PURCELLVILLE, VA, Feb. 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Norway’s child welfare agency (called Barnevernet) recently sparked international outrage when officials brutally tackled and seized 12-year-old Kai Kristiansen, removing him from his parent’s custody. The reason? Kai’s parents had chosen to homeschool him after he had experienced bullying and even death threats at his local school.

A video of the harrowing event taken by Kai’s mother Terese went viral on Facebook, gaining over 700,000 views before it was removed as a condition of Kai’s return. In order to get their son back, Terese and her husband Leif were also required to surrender their passports and agree to enroll Kai in school even though homeschooling is legal in Norway.

An international petition initiated by Home School Legal Defense Association garnered more than 25,000 signatures and emails to Norwegian embassies and the Minister of Barnavernet. The petition was a major factor in Kai being returned home within weeks instead of months, as is usually the case when Barneverent takes a child into custody.

“We are convinced that the international pressure was a major factor in Kai coming home and we are so grateful,” Terese said. “HSLDA was so helpful and was a tremendous source of support. We still have work to do before the matter is resolved and we so appreciate the international support.”

HSLDA Global Outreach Director Mike Donnelly, who organized the petition that helped bring Kai home, says that HSLDA is ready to take this case all the way up to the European Court of Human Rights, if necessary.

“HSLDA will continue to support the family and seek acknowledgement of the violation of their rights,” Donnelly said. “Homeschooling is never a reason to remove a child from their family. This case demonstrates the battle that we must continue to fight to advance homeschooling freedom, so that no family need fear such a traumatic nightmare when making decisions that are in the best interest of their child.”

With over 80,000 member families, HSLDA is the largest advocacy organization defending the rights of homeschooling parents worldwide.


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/c47602b7-4ca3-4533-ad6d-f7d7b8fbdb6e


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