Target: Paul Ecke Central Elementary School Superintendent Tim Baird
Goal: Support elementary school’s right to provide an optional yoga class to its students
At Paul Ecke Central Elementary School, yoga is a regular part of the curriculum. All of the first graders at the school participate in an early morning yoga class that is designed to boost self-confidence, and has a notably calming effect on the children. After class, the first graders are more focused, relaxed, and less easily distracted. Yet despite the many benefits of yoga, some parents are unhappy with the class. The parents are allowed to opt their children out of yoga, yet still some are trying to get the class removed from the curriculum. Support Paul Ecke Central’s right to offer a yoga class to its students.
Each morning instructor Jackie Bergeron leads her students through a number of poses, all of which the students have mastered surprisingly well. Each pose is accompanied by a fun, confidence boosting mantra. Ms. Bergeron will call for warrior pose; in response her students will do the pose, and repeat, “I am strong! I am brave!” back to her. Even though the mantras are in no way religious, a group of Christian parents say the yoga class is pushing their students towards Hindu beliefs.
The parents’ primary problem with the yoga class is in the poses themselves. They claim that the poses are derived from Ashtanga yoga, where the physical movement is supposed to represent a broader spiritual quest. Based on that spirituality, the parents claim the class violates the First Amendment. They have likened the yoga poses to baptism, where physical movement is an important part of the religious ceremony. So far, the school board has stood firm. Since it has allowed students to opt out of the class, no parent’s child will be forced to participate in something he or she believes to be religious. Sign the petition below, and support Paul Ecke Central Elementary School’s right to offer a yoga class to students who wish to participate.
Dear Mr. Baird,
Yoga has become a popular way to improve focus, self-confidence and inner peace. Offering a 30-minute yoga class to the children of Paul Ecke Central Elementary School is an innovative way to improve children’s focus and attention without putting unnecessary strain on them. In addition to it’s psychological benefits, yoga also improves fitness and flexibility.
Thank you for continuing to offer the yoga class to the students of Paul Ecke Central Elementary School. A few parents shouldn’t be allowed to deny everyone such an effective and natural way of boosting self-confidence and school performance. The yoga class offered by Jackie Bergeron is not religious, and in no way violates the First Amendment. Since the parents have the option to opt out of the class, there is no reason anyone should feel persecuted.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: worldfamilyyoga.com