BUT HOW MANY MORE “KAIS” ARE THERE?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 22, 2018) — A 12-year-old boy taken from his parents by Norwegian authorities on February 9 as a result of their homeschooling him for several weeks has been returned to their custody with conditions.
The Kristiansens had taken their son out of the school he had been attending after he reportedly received death threats from other children which the school’s administration failed to address.
Shortly after Kai Kristiansen was chased down and tackled in the snow by Norway’s child-protective agency, Barnevernet, earlier this month, The Home Schooling Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) released a video of the incident taken by the boy’s mother in which she cried out for help with, “Barnevernet is stealing our child!”
In the video, Terese Kristiansen called Norway an “oppressive state” as she helplessly watched the agents chase her son across a road and into the snow until he was trapped, face-down, while imploring them to stop.
Kai was taken away, and details of where he stayed have not been released.
Reports of children in Norway having been removed from their homes without cause abound, with a high percentage coming from families where at least one parent is “a foreigner.”
The Kristiansens had been living in Canada, Terese’s home country, until recently.
In 2016, the BBC reported on the story of the Bodnariu family, whose father is Romanian. At first, two school-aged girls were taken, then their two younger brothers, and then an infant. The Bodnarius allegedly used occasional corporal punishment, which is against Norwegian law. The state also reportedly objected to the “Christian indoctrination” to which the children were exposed at home.
On Wednesday Kai’s parents expressed in a Facebook post their thanks to the international community for its support, which undoubtedly pressured Norwegian authorities to expedite their son’s return.
Kai was returned to their care on the conditions that he begin attending public school next week and that he and his mother surrender their Canadian passports until May 3.
In response, HSDLA attorney Mike Donnelly issued a statement in which he wrote, in part, “As the family notes in their announcement, there are conditions attached to the return of Kai. We understand that these conditions include not publicly commenting on the situation. HSLDA will continue to support the family and seek acknowledgement of the violation of their rights. Homeschooling is never a reason to remove a child from their family.”
Donnelly had traveled to Norway to cover the Bodnarius’ plight, including interviews of Ruth Bodnariu’s mother and two sisters, all of whom speak English and expressed their faith in a higher power to restore the family.
Donnelly also spoke at a rally held outside a Barnevernet office in which he said the agency was “harming Norway’s reputation as being a leader of human rights.
After learning that the Bodnarius’ children would be reunited with them after their seven-month separation, Donnelly told The Federalist, “Regrettably, Norway is not alone. Most western countries have CPS systems that are growing into bureaucracies that refuse to respect the family as the basic unit of society. Too many governments are too willing to traumatize children and families over minor disagreements.”
Over the last six years, The Post & Email has reported on three cases involving the Los Angeles child-protective agency, DCFS, in which the parents, although never accused of having neglected or abused their children, lost custody. Two of the families continue their struggle to regain custody to this day.