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Closing Arguments Begin In Encinitas School Yoga Trial

Aired 6/25/13 on KPBS News.

Parents concerned that yoga is inherently religious sued Encinitas city schools to end in-school yoga classes that are part of the district’s physical education curriculum.

Closing arguments began Tuesday in a trial over yoga in Encinitas classrooms.

Dean Broyles, president of the conservative Christine National Center for Law and Policy, makes his closing argument in a San Diego Superior Court trial against Encinitas Union School District over yoga in city schools, June 25, 2013.

Parents who believe that in-school yoga classes promote Hinduism started protesting at Encinitas Union school board meetings last fall. The ensuing controversy could be put to rest when the judge rules on whether the district can continue the classes.

Dean Broyles, president of the conservative Christian National Center for Law and Policy, is representing district parents Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, who grew concerned that their child was learning Sanskrit words and drawing mandalas in school.

In his closing argument, Broyles said district efforts to remove possibly religious language from classes was confirmation that religion was there in the first place.

“The names of some of the poses were changed," he said. "Big deal. They stopped using some of the Sanskrit terms. Big deal. They stopped posting the Ashtanga tree on the wall. While that was concerning, it doesn’t fundamentally change what they taught.”

During a break, Jack Sleeth, an attorney with Strutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, who is representing the district, said his closing argument would focus on showing that the district’s health and wellness program has no religious component.

“The district didn’t strip out religion," he said. "The district started without any religion. But when parents objected, the district attempted to accommodate the parents’ concerns and remove those things the parents thought might be religious.”

The yoga classes began last fall after the school district received a $533,000 grant from the K.P. Jois Foundation, which promotes a kind of yoga called Ashtanga.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 25, 2013 at 9:50 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

"Dean Broyles, president of the conservative Christian National Center for Law and Policy, is representing district parents Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, who grew concerned that their child was learning Sanskrit words and drawing mandalas in school."

This is a frivolous lawsuit and I hope the parents lose.

Apparently they are too stupid to understand the difference between studying a religion and actually worshiping in it.

Religion, for better or worse, (and I would argue worse) is a vital element of world history. I have no problem with kids learning about religion from a historical and cultural perspective as long as not forced to pray and/or worship.

India is an increasingly important global power, teaching the history and religion of the country is valid.

I find it ironic that it's a Christian group pursuing this. They would probably have no problem forcing kids to pray to Jesus every hour on the hour, but learning about another religion an culture scares them.

It's further ironic that Hinduism is one of the least aggressive religions in terms of rigid rules and recruitment. It's more about spirituality. To be honest, it was probably doing these kids good to see that religion can actual be about spirituality instead of politics and hating others who are of different backgrounds.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | June 25, 2013 at 11:33 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Well, Duckster, you surprise me. I would have thought you would side with against the school district on this!

Least aggressive? I don't know whether to laugh or quack, Duck. Obviously you've never heard of sati??? Or how about the fact that more human beings have died over the Kashmiri issue (which is in part religiously provoked) than have died in the actual Israeli-Palestinian conflict??? We just rarely hear about in out here in the West--mostly due to our mainstream media's cultural chauvinism.

Must I educate you again?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 27, 2013 at 2:14 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Must I educate you again?

Hahahaha.

Have you ever been to India?

Have you ever been to Israel?

The Palestinian Territories?

I have been to all of them (Not Gaze, but to the West Bank). Even within those regions people have different opinions about the situations in their own country.

What causes violence is when people who disagree insult and come across as know-it-alls without the background behind it.

Kashmir is a complex issue, far beyond whatever you Googled. My comments on Hindusim come from my own experience LIVING as a foregner in India and going with Hindu friends to temples and learning about Hindu culture by being imersed in it.

You can disagree and you can also look-up anything you want to on the internet, but don't try to pull your random wikipedia crap with me here because I can GUARANTEE the amount you know about Indian culture compared to the amount I know is miniscule.

Try living in some of these regions for awhile and then come back with something relevant to say.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 27, 2013 at 2:14 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

*Gaza

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Avatar for user 'classyoga'

classyoga | July 1, 2013 at 6:15 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

So, a judge gets to decide what is Yoga. Have people, in general, and Hindus, specifically, learned nothing from history? Real Yoga is Hinduism. Why the denial?

Swami Param
Classical Yoga Hindu Academy
/>classyoga@aol.com>

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