Zurich couple fined for taking kids to America

Zurich couple fined for taking kids to America
Zurich school officials take a dim view of unofficial holidays for students. Photo: Frank Perry/AFP/Getty Images/File
Removing your children from public school in the canton of Zurich during a period outside official holidays can be an expensive process, as one couple recently found out.

The parents of two girls living in Wetzikon, a small town in the Zurich Oberland, were fined a whopping 4,700 francs ($5,275) for taking them on a holiday to the United States a week before school officially ended in the summer of 2012.

The couple contacted the school administration to say that they would be instructing their children themselves during the one-week period, according to a report on Monday from the Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.

But the school refused and decided to file a legal complaint against the parents after they pulled the girls out of school a day before going on holidays to the US, the paper said.

A district court initially fined the couple 1,600 francs for violating the school law, in addition to ordering them to pay legal costs of 1,100 francs.

They appealed the case but ended up with an additional 2,000-franc penalty under a ruling from the canton of Zurich’s top court, Tages Anzeiger reported.

Teaching children is not illegal in the canton of Zurich but it cannot be done on an “a la carte” basis for holiday arrangements, the court ruled.

The parents argued that home schooling was a good experience for their daughters but the court refused to accept that.

The couple is vowing to take the case to Switzerland’s supreme court.

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