Yoga classes may go ahead in the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) in California. San Diego Superior Court Judge John Meyer ruled Monday that the teaching of EUSD Yoga is a secular exercise practice that doesn’t violate the separation of church and state.
UT San Diego reporter Gary Worth provided indepth coverage of Monday’s trial, brought by parents who objected to the Encinitas yoga classes in the public schools.
There’s an extensive Facebook summary of the case from the parents who supported the yoga classes, including multiple links if you’d like to dig further.
The short version is that the Encinitas school district introduced a three-year pilot yoga program in 2011 funded with $533,000 from the K.P. Jois Foundation, which wants to expand the teaching of yoga in public schools. The classes are offered twice a week and are in addition to, not a replacement for, regular physical education.
Some parents objected, claiming that yoga is essentially a religious practice rather than a secular exercise. About 30 families opted out.
But some of them filed a lawsuit to attempt to shut down the yoga classes to everyone.
The judge seemed a little irritated when he realized that the plaintiffs hadn’t attended the classes and had seemingly gotten most of their supposed information about yoga from debatable internet sources and one expert witness from Indiana.
“It’s almost like a trial by Wikipedia, which isn’t what this court does,” Meyer said.
Dean Broyles, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs, wasn’t happy, claiming that the ruling represented a “consistent anti-Christian bias in cases like this that involve schools.”
Therefore, Broyles said he might appeal the Encinitas yoga classes ruling.
— prAna (@prAna) July 2, 2013
[Encinitas background photo Wonderlane via Flickr, Creative Commons]
[Kid’s yoga photo courtesy Parents in Support of Yoga Classes in Encinitas via Facebook]