School Removes 'Namaste' From Mindfulness Practice After Parents Complain About 'Scary' 'Far East' Religious Stuff

Cause this is 'Murica.

Photo Credit: Tomas Sobek /

Mindfulness, the Buddhism-derived meditative practice now popular in offices and app stores alike, has been used in schools dating back to 2007. Bullard Elementary School, in Kennesaw, Georgia, uses the method to help students relax and focus. But some parents are upset that the “Far East,” with its “scary” calming techniques, has infiltrated their kids’ classrooms—especially since you can’t even pray in schools these days. (Thanks a lot, Thomas Jefferson!) Now school officials are allaying parental fears by getting rid of the word “namaste” and just generally showing the patience of saints.

Local NBC affiliate WXIA reports that Bullard principal Patrice Moore sent an apologetic letter to parents recognizing their concerns and reassuring them nothing nefarious is afoot.

“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,” Moore wrote. “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.”

That last sentence is likely a response to complaints lodged on social media and in other venues by parents who questioned the dark powers of the yoga-esque moves their kids were being taught.

“Now we can’t pray in our schools or practice Christianity but they are allowing this Far East mystical religion with crystals and chants to be practiced under the guise of stress release meditation,” one parent wrote in a now-deleted post on Facebook, according to the Washington Post. “This is very scary.”

Another parent, speaking to WXIA, bemoaned the separation of church and state, which probably allowed the spread of foreign ideas to worm their way into the elementary school.

“No prayer in schools. Some don’t even say the pledge of allegiance. Yet they’re pushing ideology on our students. Some of those things are religious practices that we don’t want our children doing in our schools.”

Principal Moore assured parents that funny-sounding Hindu words would be verboten from here on out and that the crystals that were never used in the first place will continue not to be used.

“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.”

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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