A Chicago high school student has been awarded a major judgment in a case against her school system.
Mariyah Green, a former student at Chicago’s Bodan High School, recently received a judgment of $150,000 against her school system, after suing them for forcing her to participate in various Hindu practices. The judgment was issued because the acts by the school district amounted to idolatry, which was in violation of Green’s Christian beliefs.
Green filed a lawsuit against the David Lynch Foundation, the University of Chicago and the Board of Education of Chicago over the mandate that she participate in some Hindu rituals, even though they conflicted with her own religious beliefs.
On October 23, the clear of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois entered a judgment of $150,000 in Green’s favor.
Every day, students at Bogan High School were forced to participate in what the school district called “Quiet Time.” During these two 15-minute periods every day, the schools focused on “transcendental meditation,” a practice that was popularized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a Hindu guru.
It involves some concepts that Hinduism ascribes to, including mantras.
Green, who graduated from Bogan in 2020, spoke with LifeSiteNews via phone, saying that in addition to those “meditation” periods every day, her school sponsored a class that lasted three days that taught students “the way that they want you to meditate.”
Green said she first attended the lesson in the 2018-19 school year, describing it as “very uncomfortable.” She said that students entered a “completely dark” classroom that had “curtains closed [and] candles around the picture of [a] man” that was put on a table.
As she described:
“I was actually scared for a moment, like what is going on? Why are the lights off? Why do the candles light the man? Of course, the picture kind of threw me off because it wasn’t [anything] that I had ever seen.”
Green said that she and the other students in her class were told to “repeat a mantra” they were told they should keep to themselves. The high school student said she was able to not participate in those lessons in the future by opting out, but she was forced to participate in the 15-minute meditation periods every day.
She added that she never received any backlash for opting out of those lessons, saying those who ran the program were “nice people, but it was against my religion.”
The problem, though, was that the “very mandatory” TM periods every day were directly linked to her grades, which left Green with a feeling that she had no choice but to participate, otherwise her academics would suffer, which could eventually result in her being barred from playing basketball.
She said she faked participating just so that she would receive the necessary credit, but that she was very uncomfortable doing so.
In February of this year, Green filed a complaint with the help of attorney Judith Kott, who said that the school’s practice was a “First and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional violation of the Free Exercise Clause, which basically allows, under the Constitution, for the right for someone to believe in your own faith.”