Parents Testify in Encinitas Yoga Class Trial

Two parents claim the program has religious undertones and is unconstitutional in public schools

Parents testified about an Encinitas Union School District yoga program on Monday, with some parents claiming it is religious in nature.

Parents Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, who are suing the district, testified saying they believe the yoga program has religious undertones and is unconstitutional in public schools.

The school system established its yoga program with a $500,000 grant from the K.P. Jois Foundation in the fall of 2012. The hope was that yoga would help the elementary school students focus on studies, keep them calm and even curb bullying.

District officials said before the program started, instructors removed images of yoga Sanskrit and changed the names of poses.

But Monday plaintiffs argued that this wasn't the case.

“We expressed our concern again after hearing about our 7-year-old daughter at class talking about Sanskrit names for her limbs that she was taught in school,” said Stephen.

He also said he became worried after reading an article that suggested yoga may not be safe for children. His wife, Jennifer, said the yoga program went against the first and second commandment of the Bible.

During cross examination, the plaintiffs revealed that their daughter has never participated in a yoga class at the school, instead she learned Sanskrit in art class, not yoga.

After testimony, the judge said he had a “difficult call to make.”

“Catholic nuns teaching secular courses was troublesome to the court, and the court said it’s an unnecessary and impermissible entanglement for the state to monitor to make sure to take secular course to make sure they don’t slip in something religious,” he said. “And I’m not so sure that’s what we’re looking at here.”

Closing arguments are expected on Tuesday.

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