Yoga class draws a religious protest

December 16, 2012

Will Carless, New York Times: By 9:30 a.m. at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School, tiny feet were shifting from downward dog pose to chair pose to warrior pose in surprisingly swift, accurate movements. A circle of 6- and 7-year-olds contorted their frames, making monkey noises and repeating confidence-boosting mantras.

Jackie Bergeron’s first-grade yoga class was in full swing.

“Inhale. Exhale. Peekaboo!” Ms. Bergeron said from the front of the class. “Now, warrior pose. I am strong! I am brave!”

Though the yoga class had a notably calming effect on the children, things were far from placid outside the gymnasium.

A small but vocal group of …

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Meditation activity draws concern

April 11, 2011

Lawerence Synett: Students in a freshman honors English class at Prairie Ridge High School were asked to assume certain positions, chant and lie on the floor as part of an activity connected to reading the novel “The Alchemist,” drawing a complaint from a father who is a minister and thought the exercise had religious overtones.

Teacher Christine Wascher let students opt out if they felt uncomfortable, but now has stopped what was intended as a new way to relate to the book.

“What she had them do was a mind-clearing visualization exercise that a parent felt was transcendental meditation,” Superintendent Jill Hawk said. “It was an activity to engage them in a part of the … Read more »

Councilwoman wants wants prayer back in Philadelphia schools

March 14, 2011

The U.S. Constitution may prohibit mandatory prayer in public schools, but it doesn’t prohibit schools from allowing students to pray on their own initiative, says City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who wants to encourage the practice.

“Students are free to pray alone or in groups as long as the activity is not disruptive and does not infringe on the rights of others,” according to a resolution adopted unanimously in Council yesterday at Blackwell’s request.

It calls for Council’s Education Committee, headed by Blackwell, to schedule hearings on prayer in Philadelphia public schools.

“We want to discuss the policy, see if it needs to be amended and certainly let the citizens know that the issue does exist,” … Read more »