Monday, October 22, 2012

Calif. Schools Teach Hinduism, Parents May Sue

The Encinitas Union School District, near San Diego, CA, is being paid $533,000 by the Jois Foundation to teach every student Hindu Ashtanga yoga, “a religion system of beliefs and practices.”  Conditions of the grant require placing Ashtanga practitioners from Jois in every school.  Hundreds of citizens are outraged over the religious indoctrination forced into their public schools, but the administrators say they will not yield to public opinion on this matter.

So far, there is no word from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, or the Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

“Yoga practices and poses are not merely exercise; they’re religious practices. . . . a kind of prayer.”
-- Marsha Qualls, parent with a student at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School
For background on "religion in schools," read Atheists Say Illegal Christianity is 'Rampant' in Georgia Schools and also read ACLU Warns of Christianity in South Carolina Schools as well as Atheists Threaten to Sue Every School in Mississippi

UPDATE 12/16/12Mainstream media report that parents see lawsuit as only way to stop school's indoctrination

UPDATE 2/21/13: School district non-responsive, so parents file lawsuit to stop the yoga indoctrination

-- From "School's yoga class prompts complaints" by Christian De La Rosa, KSWB-TV5 (San Diego) 10/11/12

“While the roots of the exercise are religious, we as Americans do it not for religious reasons, but to gain the physical and mental benefits of it and that’s what we are offering our students,” said [Jois Foundation instructor Kristen] McCloskey, who has been practicing yoga for 13 years.

But parents in opposition aren’t buying McCloskey's message.

“The money used for these classes could go to other areas like math or science,” said one parent who didn’t want to be identified.

For now, district officials say the health benefits of the classes outweigh the criticism.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Parents may sue over yoga lessons in Encinitas" by Stacy Brandt, North County Times 10/21/12

In an Oct. 12 email sent to Superintendent Tim Baird, attorney Dean Broyles [who represents a large group of parents], called the program unconstitutional and warned that he may initiate “a legal course of action” if the district doesn’t end it.

Students at half of the Encinitas district’s nine schools started the yoga program last month, and the other campuses will get the classes beginning in January. The effort is being paid for with a $533,000 grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes Ashtanga yoga across the world.

For some of the concerned parents, the yoga poses serve as religious expression or a way to invite Hindu deities into the body.

Many parents are afraid to speak up because they have seen anger and name-calling in online comments on news stories about the controversy, said Samantha Vigil, a mother who’s against the program.

Parents say they’re also concerned about their children not getting enough physical activity if they opt out of the yoga classes, a lack of communication from the district about the lessons, and the information researchers are collecting as part of a study of the program.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Parents upset about school yoga program" by Stacy Brandt, North County Times 10/10/12

Some of the parents said they have already asked to have their children removed from the classes.

"I will not allow my children to be indoctrinated by this Hindu religious program," said Andy Vick, who has three daughters at Mission Estancia. "Because of this, you're forcing me to segregate my children [from their classmates]."

Vick said some of the children who are pulled from the yoga classes are ostracized and bullied, comparing the situation to Nazi Germany.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Teaching Islam in Georgia Schools Challenged as well as Prayer Back in Wisconsin School (Muslim Prayer, that is) plus read Public School Teaching Islam Closed by Minnesota