Dear YES! Families –
Thanks so much for your unwavering support during the six day trial. We FINALLY completed closing arguments yesterday and the case is now in Judge Meyer’s hands. He will be issuing his ruling on Monday morning (July 1) at 9:00 a.m. and we will be sure to keep you updated.
Many of you have asked me to predict the outcome of the trial. All I can say is I like our chances. The facts and the law are on our side. I am pleased with the presentation of evidence and the arguments we advanced. While the judge was clearly not buying all of Ms. Broyles’ arguments, plaintiffs could prevail if he’s convinced by just one of them. Keep in mind that the appellate courts exist because trial judges don’t always make the right call. Considering the nature of his many questions to both sides, however, I am cautiously optimistic that Judge Meyer sees through plaintiffs’ conspiracy theories.
Looking forward to good news next week.
Recent news coverage:
The Coast News
Attorneys deliver closing arguments in school yoga trial
June 26, 2013
Attorney David Peck, representing 150 EUSD families, wrapped up the defense’s case Wednesday morning. He said that equating yoga with religion means other school programs could theoretically be sued.
“Think of the slippery slope implication we would be faced with if any type of physical exercise that someone perceives to be religious, or incorporates into their religion, is banned from the public schools on constitutional grounds.
“There are sects out there that consider running to be religious…and certainly nobody is suggesting that we ban running from the schools,” Peck said.
Broyles argued earlier in the day that the class instruction is directly tied to Ashtanga yoga, which he described as the most religious form of yoga. During the various versions of the classes, Ashtanga posters, videos and salutations have been shown to students, he said.
Dean Broyles, who represents parents in the Encinitas Union School District opposed to the classes, spent nearly five hours on Tuesday wrapping up his clients’ case.
On Monday, Broyles said his closing argument would take two hours, but his remarks stretched on over five hours.
Both parties agreed that Meyer, rather than a jury, will decide on whether the program is legal. He indicated he might rule on the case on Thursday.
Closing Arguments Begin In Encinitas School Yoga Trial
June 26, 2013
In his closing argument, Broyles said district efforts to remove possibly religious language from classes was confirmation that religion was there in the first place.
“The names of some of the poses were changed,” he said. “Big deal. They stopped using some of the Sanskrit terms. Big deal. They stopped posting the Ashtanga tree on the wall. While that was concerning, it doesn’t fundamentally change what they taught.”
NBC Southern California
Parents Suing School Claim Yoga Classes Go Against First, Second Commandments
June 25, 2013
District officials said before the program started, instructors removed images of yoga Sanskrit and changed the names of poses. But Monday plaintiffs argued that this wasn’t the case.
“We expressed our concern again after hearing about our 7-year-old daughter at class talking about Sanskrit names for her limbs that she was taught in school,” said Stephen Sedlock, who, along with his wife, is suing the school district.
David Miyashiro, the district’s assistant superintendent for education, said he instituted a yoga program at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School three years ago when he filled in for a principal on maternity leave. He said the school needed another enrichment program, and it proved popular with the kids.
“It was active, engaging,” Miyashiro said. “The kids came home and talked about it.”
Superintendent Timothy Baird testified at trial that parents are allowed to opt out of yoga, but the children of those who do will receive less PE time than participating students. However, they will still receive at least the state-required minimum of PE minutes, he said.
Is yoga instruction religious? San Diego court case may decide
June 25, 2013
In an elementary school classroom with an American flag draped over one wall, a couple dozen students rose to standing positions. Then they shifted into poses called “volcano part one,” “silent gorilla,” and “rag doll.”
Some students may not realize it, but the semiweekly, half-hour course might be gone by the time they return in the fall.
In this upscale, seaside suburb just north of San Diego, parents have filed a lawsuit arguing the Encinitas Union School District should do away with the yoga elective because the discipline is inherently religious, and the teaching of it in the public schools violates the First Amendment.
Closing arguments are scheduled today in the case of a couple who sued the Encinitas Union School District to stop yoga instruction, which they contend has religious overtones.
In the final day of testimony Monday, an elementary school principal in the district testified that she saw no religious overtones in yoga classes taught on her campus.
Encinitas School Yoga Trial to Resume
Monday, June 24, 2013
Parents object to “religious nature” of yoga instruction in public schools.
Trial was set to resume Monday in the case of a couple who sued the Encinitas Union School District to stop yoga instruction, which they contend has religious overtones.
The lawsuit was filed by the National Center for Law and Policy on behalf of Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, whose children attend one of the district’s nine schools. On its website, the nonprofit Christian-based center said it focuses on the protection and promotion of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, parental rights and other civil liberties.
ENCINITAS — A lawsuit calling for the end of school yoga classes on the basis that they violate the separation of church and state resumed in court Monday. The yoga program’s architect, the last witness in the trial, took the stand.
David Miyashiro, assistant superintendent of education services for the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD), crafted the yoga program less than a year ago with input from a curriculum writer…
Miyashiro testified that the grant agreement between the foundation and EUSD initially specified that the Jois Foundation train the yoga teachers. But in reality, the Jois Foundation didn’t coach the 10 instructors who were ultimately hired. He added the Jois Foundation had little influence over the curriculum.
Couple sues, wants classes banned
ENCINITAS, Calif. – Testimony concluded Monday in the case of a couple who sued the Encinitas Union School District to stop yoga instruction, which they contend has religious overtones.
The lawsuit was filed by the National Center for Law and Policy on behalf of Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, whose children attend one of the district’s nine schools. On its website, the nonprofit Christianity-based center said its focuses on the protection and promotion of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, parental rights and other civil liberties.
The plaintiffs contend that Ashtanga yoga is religious in nature, and that opting out costs students physical education time. They are not seeking any money, only an end to the yoga program.
6 minute video interview available here: