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GA School District Settles Lawsuit With Employee Punished for Teaching Yoga | Hemant Mehta | Friendly Atheist

In 2006, Bonnie Cole, a training Christian, turned the Assistant Principal at Bullard Elementary School in Cobb County, Georgia. In 2014, she and different academics started introducing youngsters to yoga exercises that concerned respiration and stretching and meditation to be able to assist youngsters scale back their stress and loosen up.

It appeared to work. The faculty reported a 33% lower in disruptive conduct and coverage violations following the introduction of these yoga periods.

But it wasn’t lengthy earlier than some mother and father started to complain that Cole was “trying to indoctrinate their children with Buddhism.” They additionally claimed she learn youngsters a e-book referred to as Peaceful Piggy Meditation to additional indoctrinate the youngsters… regardless that the guide had a Jewish writer and by no means talked about Buddhism.

It obtained worse. One day in 2016, mother and father held a prayer rally “for Jesus to rid the school of Buddhism.” A few mother and father even prayed outdoors Cole’s workplace the next day.

At this level, the varsity board together with directors ought to’ve advised the mother and father to again off. There was no spiritual indoctrination happening and Cole wasn’t doing something flawed.

They didn’t do this. Later that month, they shut down the yoga periods and, in accordance with Cole’s eventual lawsuit, “voted to move Ms. Cole to another school 16 miles further from her home.” The transfer to a brand new faculty added a full hour to her commute.

In her lawsuit, filed in 2017, Cole stated this amounted to “reverse religious discrimination” — which means she was discriminated towards for spiritual views she didn’t even maintain. She was punished, she claimed, for not being sufficiently Christian sufficient for the group’s liking.

Not solely was the capitulation and switch a humiliating and public demonstration of the District’s lack of help of Ms. Cole, it made clear to the group that spiritual actions can be allowed so long as they’re a part of the “accepted” faith of Christianity as understood and practiced by members of the CCSD Board of Education and Defendant [Superintendent Chris] Ragsdale.

Cole additionally sued for retaliation by the varsity board, saying they didn’t help her regardless of “wild and baseless accusations” made towards her by a gaggle of oldsters and, in truth, punished her because of these complaints.

The district stated faith had nothing to do with their choice to switch Cole; they only needed to “restore order” to the varsity.

Well, now that order has been restored. The district voted 4-3 to settle the case as an alternative of preventing what certainly would have been a dropping battle in courtroom.

The settlement settlement calls for the district to pay $150,000 in change for “a full release, no admission of liability, and (her) resignation effective June 30, 2021,” based on Nan Kiel, a spokesperson for the varsity district.

It’s arguably the best choice that they had on the desk. It prices them some huge cash, however they get to fake they did nothing fallacious. The dissenting board members needed to maintain preventing to show that in courtroom.

Had the case continued, it will have gone before a jury later this yr.

At least Cole will get a semblance of a victory. This complete controversy started as a result of her want to assist youngsters was ruined by a faculty board that capitulated to indignant Christian mother and father too ignorant to comprehend that stretching and controlling one’s respiration weren’t the identical as proselytizing. She by no means ought to have been punished for that.

(Image by way of Shutterstock. Portions of this text have been revealed earlier. Thanks to Brian for the link)


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