Students forced into meditation at school, hide it from parents

 April 28, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A lawsuit that challenges a Chicago Public Schools plan that forced students to participate in Transcendental Meditation and Hindu religious practices has been turned into a class action case.

Lawyers at Mauck & Baker, who already are representing Kaya Hudgins, have confirmed they have gotten an order from a federal court in Illinois adding others in the class – those who were subjected to the religious indoctrination – to the complaint.

The case is pending against the Chicago board of education and the David Lynch Foundation, which is accused of setting up a program that students were forced into, in which they were forced into TM and Hindu religious rituals.

The case charges those actions violated the students' constitutional rights.

The law team's account said, "The design, implementation, and conduct of a Chicago Public Schools program, dubbed Quiet Time, was handled by the David Lynch Foundation for World Peace, an organization teaching Transcendental Meditation. As alleged in Hudgins’ First Amended Complaint, the Foundation worked together with Chicago Public Schools and the University of Chicago to implement the program at Chicago Public School high schools."

Hudgins charges that she was forced into the program.

"A Chicago Public Schools teacher told me and my entire class to sign a consent form to participate in Quiet Time. My entire class and I signed the consent because we felt pressure to sign. Our teacher told us that we would get in trouble and be sent to the dean if we did not consent. The teacher also told us that not signing the consent would affect our academics. We also received the same kind of pressure to participate in the Quiet Time program on a regular basis."

The then-16-year-old also explained she was coerced into signing a nondisclosure agreement "not to tell anyone, including our parents.'"

"Not only were these minor school children coerced by Chicago Public School teacher into signing a document they had no business signing," shared John Mauck, a partner at Mauck and Baker, "They were duped into practicing Hindu rituals and Transcendental Meditation during class time and instructed to hide their mandated participation in them from their parents."

Included in the school scheme were "uncomfortably private one-on-one Hindu 'Puja' worship ceremony in a darkened room, with chanting and a variety of religious paraphernalia."

The case alleges Hudgins was instructed to chant the name of a Hindu god.

She participated because she felt her academic standing was threatened for opposing it.

Hudgins charges that she was a practicing Muslim at the time and the indoctrination "contradicted her religious Islamic beliefs and caused her to question her Islamic beliefs."

District Judge Matthew Kennelly granted class action status for all students who participated in the Quiet Time program in Chicago Public Schools during the academic calendar for fall 2015 through spring 2019 and reached age eighteen on or after January 13, 2021.

The same legal team previously won a judgment of $150,000 for another student, a Christian, who contested the same program.

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