LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, November 1, 2013 (RNS): Parents who say yoga is inherently religious have appealed a judge’s ruling that allowed yoga in a public school system near San Diego, saying it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
“Our children are not religious guinea pigs and should never be subjected to such misguided religious experimentation,” said Dean Broyles, president of the National Center for Law and Policy, a nonprofit based in Escondido, Calif., dedicated to defending religious freedom, traditional marriage and the sanctity of life.
Broyles filed a notice of appeal Wednesday (Oct. 30) in San Diego Superior Court on behalf of parents who oppose the yoga curriculum in the Encinitas Union School District. Broyles first filed a lawsuit regarding the district’s yoga program last February on behalf of Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, whose child attended El Camino Creek Elementary School in Carlsbad.
In July, San Diego Superior Court Judge John Meyer ruled against the Sedlocks, saying that the teaching of yoga in public schools does not establish a government interest in religion. Meyer explained that although yoga is rooted in religion, it has a legitimate secular purpose as part of the district’s physical education program.
Since then, according to El Camino Creek principal Carrie Brown, the Sedlocks pulled their daughter from the school and placed her in a different school in the same district. According to Brown, the controversy over the yoga practiced in the school district of approximately 5,000 elementary school students has died down. It is “a completely different climate,” she said.
Each student in the Encinitas School District is now taking 30-minute yoga sessions twice a week, though there is still the option for some students to opt out.