Yoga at NY High School Causes Stress Among Critics

October 2, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Associated Press

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/02/AR2008100203298_pf.html

A group of parents and religious leaders in upstate New York want yoga classes out of public schools, saying the instruction violates boundaries between church and state.

Two high school teachers began using yoga last year to help students relieve stress before exams. Special education teacher Martha Duchscherer and Spanish teacher Kerry Perretta also were developing a districtwide program.

But those plans were halted after parents and others in the community complained students were being indoctrinated in Hindu rites.

"We are not opposed to the benefits. We can understand the benefits. We are opposed to the philosophy behind it and that has its ties in Hinduism and the way they were presenting it," said the Rev. Colin Lucid of Calvary Baptist Church in Massena.

The program does not have ulterior motives, Julie Reagan, Massena Board of Education president, said Thursday.

"If the school board felt there was any hidden religious activity behind the motives of our two instructors, we certainly wouldn't allow that," she said. "There is absolutely none of that. The teachers are well intended and trying to offer an aspect of fitness in the classroom that relaxes and readies the children for better learning."