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Recent studies show that developing healthy stress-management skills at a young age can decrease the likelihood of depression and anxiety.
Armed with this information, a State B school district decides to implement a new meditation program in its elementary schools, to teach students stress-management skills. To that end, the school district contracts with a licensed counselor, who is also a certified meditation instructor. She is certified in various meditation practices, including some rooted in the Buddhist faith. She is not, however, a religious practitioner of meditation or Buddhism.
The school, working with the instructor, develops the meditation program. Every day, students will spend some time practicing meditation. The youngest students will spend about five minutes, and the oldest, around half an hour. The program’s focus is a form of meditation called Mindfulness of Breathing, which has its roots in Buddhism.
The school selected Mindfulness of Breathing because that practice is more accessible and easier to understand for students than some other forms of meditation. The program uses no Buddhist terms in its instruction. The instruction focuses on the mental health aspects of meditation, and it omits any traditional Buddhist texts, goals, or other spiritual components.
One family is very upset by the new meditation program. They believe it amounts to forced instruction on Buddhism in schools. The family files a lawsuit, arguing that the program violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.