Lexington parent questions use of yoga in classrooms on religious grounds – Mansfield News Journal

LEXINGTON – A parent questioned whether yoga should be allowed in Lexington Local Schools during Wednesday’s board of education meeting.
Amie Mutti referenced the landmark 1962 Supreme Court case of Engel v. Vitale in which justices ruled it was unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and encourage its recitation in public schools.
Mutti said some district teachers have introduced yoga to their students.
“Yoga is one of the six integral parts of the Hindu faith,” she told board members. “I’m all for the kids exercising, but we don’t need yoga in the school system.”
Mutti said yoga has “slipped through the cracks.”
A BBC News story from 2013 addressed the issue in a story called “Does doing yoga make you a Hindu?”
“Yoga is such a broad term. That’s what causes a difficulty,” said Rebecca Ffrench, the co-founder of a yoga teacher academy.
There are different forms of yoga, she said, some of which are more overtly religious than others. What most people in the West think of as yoga is properly known as hatha yoga, a path toward enlightenment that focuses on building physical and mental strength.
But what “enlightenment” means also depends on tradition, according to the BBC News story. For some Hindus, it is liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, but for many yoga practitioners, it is a point where you achieve stillness in your mind, or understand the true nature of the world and your place in it.
Whether that is compatible with Christianity, Islam and other religions is debatable, the story concluded.
Board president Robert Whitney addressed the issue briefly.
“We’ll take up your concern and get back to you,” he told Mutti.
After the board meeting, Superintendent Mike Ziegelhofer said school officials respect Mutti’s stance.
“It will be easily worked out,” he predicted.
At the beginning of the meeting, board members continued a recent pattern of recognizing students and student-athletes for their achievements.
They lauded the boys soccer team, which advanced to the Division II state championship game last fall before losing, and junior golfer Trevor Dials, who became the school’s first state qualifier in decades.
“It’s the first time a Lexington golfer qualified for state in over 30 years,” Ziegelhofer said. “That makes it a big deal. On top of that, he’s a great kid, a great student — the total package.”
Lexington’s boys soccer team posted a 21-2 record with 11 shutouts. The Minutemen were undefeated in the Ohio Cardinal Conference and upset the No. 1 team in the state in the regional tournament.
Coach Peter Them said it was the best season in school history.
“They rewrote our record books,” he said.
Most of the players attended the meeting, wearing matching T-shirts for a workout. They introduced themselves to the board by name and position.
Next up, the board re-elected Whitney as president and Keith Stoner as vice president.
Whitney joined the school board in April 1964, interviewing for the position after another board member resigned. He is a Lexington native and 1953 graduate.
The board also accepted a donation of $4,900 from Tom, Julie and Graham McCready of McCready Interiors. The money will go for furnishings at Central Elementary School.
At the end, the board members met in executive session for 45 minutes. When they returned, they accepted the resignation of Eastern Elementary principal Buddy Miller, effective June 30.
Ziegelhofer said Miller, in his eighth year at the school, cited personal reasons for stepping down.
Twitter: @MNJCaudill


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