Final arguments in case against yoga in North County schools - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Final arguments in case against yoga in North County schools

Posted: Updated:
  • RelatedMore>>

  • Trial resumes in case against yoga school

    Trial resumes in case against yoga school

    Monday, June 24 2013 7:32 PM EDT2013-06-24 23:32:15 GMT
    Trial resumed Monday in the case of a couple who sued the Encinitas Union School District to stop yoga instruction, which they contend has religious overtones. 
    Trial resumed Monday in the case of a couple who sued the Encinitas Union School District to stop yoga instruction, which they contend has religious overtones. 

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Closing arguments are scheduled Tuesday in the case of a couple who sued the Encinitas Union School District to stop yoga instruction, which they contend has religious overtones.

In the final day of testimony Monday, an elementary school principal in the district testified that she saw no religious overtones in yoga classes taught on her campus.

Carrie Brown of El Camino Creek Elementary School said she saw only "stretching and breathing" when she observed the yoga class, over which a couple has sued the district because of its alleged religious influences.

The lawsuit was filed by the National Center for Law and Policy on behalf of Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, whose children attend one of the district's nine schools.

On its website, the nonprofit Christianity-based center said its focuses on the protection and promotion of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, parental rights and other civil liberties.

The plaintiffs contend that Ashtanga yoga is religious in nature and that opting out costs students physical education time. They want the yoga program ended but have not asked for a financial judgment.

Brown testified that the yoga class was one component of an enrichment program that also includes instruction in music, computers and karate. A couple of parents had their children opt out of the other elective courses, too, she said.

Controversy over the program erupted last year as the district began to develop a health and wellness curriculum that includes yoga.

The program was funded by a $500,000 grant from the K.P. Jois Foundation, which promotes Ashtanga yoga, a fast-paced form of yoga of progressively more demanding poses with synchronized breathing.

The trial began May 20 and was expected to last two to three days in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge John Meyer. On the third day, the trial went on hiatus, with both parties saying they wanted to call additional witnesses before making their closing arguments -- with Monday marking the resumption of testimony.

The parties have agreed to have Meyer decide the issue, so there is no jury.

David Miyashiro, the district's assistant superintendent for education, said he instituted a yoga program at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School three years ago when he filled in for a principal on maternity leave. He said the school needed another enrichment program, and it proved popular with the kids.

"It was active, engaging," Miyashiro said. "The kids came home and talked about it."

Last year, he and other district officials developed a more comprehensive "health and wellness" program for students that included yoga, instruction on organic gardening, stress reduction and character development, he said.

Superintendent Timothy Baird testified in the previous part of the trial that while children opting out of yoga receive less PE time than participating students, they still get at least the state-required minimum of PE minutes.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.