Public schools across the U.S. are incorporating meditation practices in the classroom and placing children who don’t wish to participate in the hallway, according to a religious liberty legal group.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) says the practice is “similar to anciently established Buddhist and Hindu practices” and violates the U.S. Constitution.
The schools use a program called Inner Explorer.
“By allowing inherently religious programs, like Inner Explorer, into the classroom, public schools are promoting a religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution,” ACLJ’s Christina Stierhoff wrote in a story on the organization’s website. “Parents need to be assured that they can trust public school systems to properly educate their children, not indoctrinate them.”
Inner Explore says on its website its mission is to “provide mindfulness in schools for PreK-12 classrooms, helping children develop self-awareness, self-control, resilience and compassion.”
“Each series contains 90 audio-guided practices that can be used every day by simply logging in and pressing play,” the Inner Explorer website says. “Students and their teachers participate together in the brief (5-10 minute) daily practices. No prep, planning or curriculum changes required.”
Inner Explore maintains that its meditation is “not a religion.”
“It is a set of simple attention practices that promote full awareness of the present moment,” the Inner Explore website says. “These attention practices allow students to develop the capacity to sustain focus.”
ACLJ attended a Colorado school board meeting on Nov. 29 to express its opposition to the practice, Stierhoff wrote.
“Imagine your elementary school child coming home one night and explaining the actions that their teacher asked them to do that day – to close their eyes and obey an audio recording that tells them to clear their minds, to watch their memories and emotions float away on clouds, and to feel the love and warmth from their connection to the universe,” Stierhoff wrote. “How would you react if this same audio recording is telling your child to look inside themselves to reach inner-goodness and peace? Imagine that day after day, your child is subjected to 15-minute ‘Mindfulness’ sessions that are similar to anciently established Buddhist and Hindu practices.”
The only opt-out in many schools is “to place your child in the hallway unattended until the mindfulness session has finished.”
“This is the new reality for parents across the country in 2018,” Stierhoff wrote.
She calls it “religious indoctrination.”
An ACLJ petition opposing meditation in schools had more than 53,000 signatures as of Monday.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
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