Thursday, March 06, 2014

Obama Admin. Wins Battle to Deport Christian Home School Family

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike came to the United States in 2008 seeking political asylum. They fled their German homeland in the face of religious persecution for homeschooling their children.

They wanted to live in a country where they could raise their children in accordance with their Christian beliefs.

The Romeikes were initially given asylum, but the Obama administration objected – claiming that German laws that outlaw homeschooling do not constitute persecution.

“The goal in Germany is for an open, pluralistic society,” the Justice Department wrote in a legal brief last year. “Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen in Germany.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the Romeike’s appeal – paving the way for the Christian family of eight to be deported.

“I think this is a part of the Obama administration’s overall campaign to crush religious freedom in this country,” said Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. His organization is representing family.

“The Obama administration’s attitude toward religious freedom, particularly religious freedom for Christians is shocking,” he told me in an exclusive telephone interview. “I have little doubt that if this family had been of some other faith that the decision would have never been appealed in the first place. They would have let this family stay.”

Had the family stayed in Germany, where homeschooling is illegal, they would have faced the prospect of losing their children. Like the Pilgrims, they fled their homeland yearning for a place where they could be free.

Farris said the religious bias perpetrated by the Obama administration is “palpable.”

“It’s a denial of the essence of America,” he said. “The Pilgrims left England to go to Holland to seek religious freedom. They came here to seek religious freedom and parental rights for their children. Had this administration been waiting at Plymouth Rock, they would’ve told the Pilgrims to go back home.”

There are nearly 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. You’d think the Obama administration could find a place eight immigrants who want to live here legally.

Farris said the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case sends a chilling message to Americans who currently home school their children.

“This administration thinks it’s a privilege to home school – not a right,” he told me. “We’d better buckle down and be ready to fight them every step of the way.”

As for now, the Romeike family will be able to stay at their four-acre farm in the eastern Tennessee. But it’s only a matter of time before the Obama administration begins formal deportation proceedings.

Last year, I interviewed 15-year-old Daniel Romeike, a soft-spoken boy with aspirations of one day becoming a mechanical engineer. He told me he was afraid of what might happen if the family was deported. He feared being taken from his parents and placed in government custody.

“If I had a chance to talk to President Obama, I would ask him to let us stay in this great country of freedom and opportunity,” Daniel told me.


The suspended art teacher who Sellotaped shut mouths of 10-year-olds who refused to stop giggling

A primary school teacher has been suspended for Sellotaping over the mouths of her 10-year-old pupils after they refused to stop giggling and talking.

Priscila Davo Ortega, 27, allegedly lined up more than 20 children during her art lesson and put layers of sticky tape across their lips because they were being too noisy.

Parents said that when some children ripped off the tape because they were struggling to breathe, the Spanish-born teacher replaced it.

Other children were left with bleeding lips when the tape was removed, and several said that they were scared about returning to school.

Miss Ortega has been suspended from teaching art and Spanish at Danesfield Church of England middle school in Williton, Somerset, pending an investigation. Police said they would work with the local education authority.

Parents learned what had happened when their children returned home on Monday. The Year 6 pupils said Miss Ortega imposed the punishment because they were making too much noise while playing a game of blind man’s bluff.

Lisa Duffield, said: ‘I was absolutely disgusted when my daughter told me what the teacher had done. I went straight round the school and demanded to speak to Mr Bradbury, the headteacher.

‘I told Mr Bradbury that under no circumstances was my daughter to be taught by her until this matter was sorted out. I didn’t trust myself to speak to the teacher myself, as I feared I might slap her.’

Sarah Gower, 38, of Williton, said: ‘The teacher did not like that they were giggling too loud, told them all to be quiet, and if they weren’t quiet she would put Sellotape over their mouths, which she did.

‘A couple of them had difficulty breathing, so they ripped it off and she put more on top. My son was confused about what happened and he was a bit scared about going to school this morning.’

Stacey Bradbury, 28, from Watchet, Somerset, said she was ‘disgusted, shocked, traumatised’ by Miss Ortega’s actions.  Her 10-year-old son Thomas said: ‘She put Sellotape on our mouths just because we were talking. Some people had a really bad rash after and some girls in my class had their lips bleeding.’

Rob Lovell, 33, of Williton, said his 10-year-old daughter told him Miss Ortega said she was carrying out an ‘experiment’ to see how long the children could be quiet.

‘When my daughter took the tape off her mouth, it split her lips and they were bleeding,’ he said. ‘The same thing happened to quite a few of the pupils. They were all very upset.’

Miss Ortega is from the village of Huetor Santillan, near Granada. She worked as a nanny in London from November 2010 to June 2011, before returning to Spain to complete a master’s degree in secondary education.

She did a month-long placement at Danesfield in 2012, and began working there full-time in January. In May last year, she wrote on Facebook: ‘Now for sure, next school year, I will be an art and Spanish teacher in Danesfield School in pretty Sommerset[sic]! A bit nervous but happy.’

Last night, Miss Ortega’s family said she must have acted ‘in jest’ and not to punish the children.  Pablo Davo, her uncle, who lives next door to her parents Jorge and Mari Trini in Huetor Santillan, said: ‘Sellotaping children’s mouths up because they’re being noisy would be totally out of character for Priscila.  ‘She loves her job and she loves children and she never mentioned any problems when she was back here a couple of weeks ago.’

Danesfield School was rated as ‘good’ in its most recent Ofsted report, and the incident happened on the first day of lessons since it became an academy.

Headteacher Ian Bradbury said: ‘The wellbeing of our children is of vital importance to us. An incident happened in a lesson on Monday. Following that incident, I have suspended the teacher involved until a full and thorough investigation has taken place.’


British courses in self-tanning and balloon artistry 'to be axed'

Courses in subjects such as self-tanning, balloon artistry and instructing pole fitness will fail to attract taxpayer funding under a shake-up of adult education, it is announced today.

More than 5,000 qualifications will be stripped from a list of funded courses as part of a drive to boost investment in more rigorous disciplines that lead directly to a job, it emerged.

Matthew Hancock, the Skills Minister, said the changes would result in some £200 million being redirected towards work-based qualifications and apprenticeships.

The move comes amid fears that the taxpayer is being left to fund large numbers of courses that are currently deemed to be of little or no value in the workplace.

Other subjects due to be axed from a prescribed list include “coaching angling” and aerial balloon displays.

In all, it will cut the number of funded qualifications from 11,000 at the moment to around 6,000.

The move – aimed directly at adult education – follows a similar purge on qualifications for 16- to 19-year-olds which has seen courses such as "cutting facial hair" and "fitting eyelash extensions” taken out of official league tables.

Mr Hancock said: “Small qualifications in coaching angling, aerial balloon displays and self-tanning are not a good use of tax payers’ money or learners’ time.

“There are currently 15,400 regulated qualifications, and even with the restrictions we have made so far, 11,000 of them are eligible for Government funding. This means the system is complicated, bureaucratic and hard to understand and we need to change that.

“We are determined to make sure that people who work hard to achieve a qualification can be sure that it is recognised as meaningful and valuable to employers and that it makes a real contribution to our long term economic recovery.”

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills published a report on vocational qualifications on Wednesday.

The strategy – Getting the Job Done: The Government's Reform Plan for Vocational Qualifications – sets out a series of changes to college and work-based courses for adults.

This includes giving employers a greater say in course syllabuses to make sure qualifications lead directly to jobs and giving Ofqual, the exams regulator, new powers to review the adult education system.


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