Following months of threats, the parents who claim the Encinitas School District yoga program violates their religious freedoms have filed a lawsuit.
The suit, filed last Wednesday in the San Diego Superior Court, seeks to “stop EUSD from using state resources to prefer and endorse Ashtanga yoga, which unlawfully promotes religious beliefs, while disfavoring and discriminating against other religions.” The yoga program, funded by a $550,000 grant by the Jois Foundation, offers free yoga classes to 5,500 students in all the schools in the district.
The parents are not seeking money for damages, but instead hope that a judge will force the school to suspend the program. “The goal would be to have a judge order the district to comply with the law,” attorney Dean Broyles, who represents the family told ABC News. “If they comply with the law, they will need to suspend the yoga program and offer physical education that complies with the law to their students.”
Encinitas Superintendent Timothy Baird insists that the program is not religious at all. ”If you were to walk in there, you would feel like you’re going into a gym,” Baird said “The students come in, do some warm ups, do the typical stretching and movement. There’s absolutely no religious instruction that goes on, whatsoever.”
He also noted that there is an option for any family that is uncomfortable with the yoga program for religious reasons to opt out of it.