Officials at a Georgia elementary school apologized this week after parents raised concerns over the use of yoga and mindfulness techniques in class.
“I am truly sorry that the mindfulness/de-stressing practices here at Bullard caused many misconceptions that in turn created a distraction in our school and community,” Patrice Moore, the principal of Bullard Elementary School in Kennesaw, wrote in an email to parents acquired by local station WXIA.
Parents accused Cobb County school officials of pushing a non-Christian belief system on students by asking them to say “namaste” in class and hold their hands by their hearts in classic yoga poses.
Moore wrote in her note that both practices would be banned. Students also would not be allowed to color mandalas, which are spiritual symbols representing the universe in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Moore said that some parents also mistakenly believed teachers were telling students that crystals had healing powers, and assured them that “nothing resembling this will be done in the future.”
Parent Susan Jaramillo told WXIA that she thought those changes were necessary.
“No prayer in schools. Some don’t even say the pledge, yet they’re pushing ideology on our students,” Jaramillo said. “Some of those things are religious practices that we don’t want our children doing in our schools.”
Read the full email from Moore below:
Good evening Bullard Families,
I’d like to thank those of you who attended “Coffee and Conversations” yesterday. I am truly sorry that the mindfulness/ de-stressing practices here at Bullard caused many misconceptions that in turn created a distraction in our school and community. While we have been practicing de-stressing techniques in many classrooms for years, there have been some recent practices associated with mindfulness that are offensive to some.
As a result, we will pull the following out of our school: When yoga moves are used in classrooms, students will not say the word “Namaste” nor put their hands to heart center. When coloring during “brain breaks”, Mandala coloring pages will not be used. Although teachers have never used nor taught about crystals having healing powers during these breaks, we understand it has become a belief. Therefore we will ensure that nothing resembling this will be done in the future.
As we move forward and begin the healing process with the staff, we’d like to form a committee of parents to work with us as we explore research-based techniques and ideas for the classroom. The purpose of this committee is to get community input on a variety of topics, including mindfulness, curriculum practices and ways to increase our CCRPI score. If you are interested in sitting on this committee, please send an email to me by Wednesday as I’d like to hold the first meeting prior to spring break.
Have a great weekend!