San Diego Judge Rules Yoga In Public Schools Does Not Violate Church/State Separation
After critics of a public school district’s decision to teach yoga tried to argue in court that the popular exercise practice violated the constitutional principle of separating church and state because it is inherently religious, a judge ruled that San Diego students continuing to do downward dog is perfectly legal.
San Diego Superior Court Judge John S. Meyer said although yoga is a religious practice, the Encinitas Union School District teaches it in a way that eliminates the religious connotations. Meyer noted that the district got rid of all the cultural references, including changing the name of the popular lotus position to "crisscross applesauce."
Meyer said parents who opposed the program were relying on opinions that they developed from internet searches.
"It's almost like a trial by Wikipedia, which isn't what this court does," Meyer said.
An attorney for Encinitas parents Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, Dean Broyles, said he would probably appeal.
“It was the judge's job to call balls and strikes and determine the facts," he said. "I think he got some of the facts wrong."
The district is believed to be the first in the country to have full-time yoga teachers at every one of its schools and the twice-weekly, 30-minute classes are offered in addition to regular physical education, Fox News reported.
Superintendent Timothy Baird applauded the ruling, calling yoga "21st century P.E." that yielded "amazing" health benefits.