ACLJ FOIA Investigation Reveals the Department of Education Has Been Pushing Buddhist-Based Mindfulness Programs in Public Schools for 7 Years | American Center for Law and Justice

Buddhist-Based Mindfulness Programs in Public Schools for 7 Years

By Christina Stierhoff1614783540000

The ACLJ has recently unveiled the truth of Mindfulness’ infiltration into the United States’ public schools.

Through our two-year-long Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) investigation, the ACLJ has uncovered that the Department of Education (DOE) has been experimenting with Mindfulness programs starting all the way back in 2014.

It was in the fall of 2018 when concerned parents first began contacting the ACLJ regarding a strange new curriculum introduced into their children’s classrooms. We told you about our concerns regarding the Buddhist-based Mindfulness curriculum found in programs such as InnerExplorer, MindUp, and Mindful Schools. As we investigated more, we discovered the harmful beginnings of Mindfulness in America, and how Jon Kabat-Zinn, a practicing Buddhist, created a curriculum full of veiled Buddhist religion. We further detailed the documented harms that can come from meditation practices that guide children through the process of “clearing your mind” or “watching your thoughts float away on clouds.”

Now, the truth has come out that the Department of Education has been pushing this curriculum for years – long before parents became aware of the changes in curriculum in their schools. The DOE’s documents produced in response to our FOIA requests indicate that the DOE switched from using a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum through a program called Second Step – previously vetted by the ACLJ – to Jon Kabat-Zinn’s curriculum in 2014.

“The DOE IES Research Performance Progress Report for July 2014 through March 2015,” or the Mindfulness study, included quotes from Jon Kabat-Zinn as the study attempted to define Mindfulness and its purposes. In these studies spanning five years, the DOE reported that the schools in the study used “Zenergy Chimes,” or a Tibetan Bell for Buddhist religious ceremonies, to usher in the daily mindfulness practices. They implemented exercises that they called “cleansing breaths,” without much explanation as to what was being cleansed. They discussed the “Bubble Exercise” where they encouraged the children to watch their thoughts, like bubbles, float away or pop without allowing themselves to address the thoughts. Another similar practice is the “Puppy Mind” where you watch your thoughts race like a little puppy and practice “letting go/letting be.” The description further explains that these exercises “ask us to allow all of it to pass without holding on. Initially, this means resting one’s physical sensations while thoughts and emotions cascade by.” These practices emulate the similar “cloud” exercises that we dissected for you in the past.

Most disconcerting is the DOE’s description of one of the goals of mindfulness: “These practices continue the process of turning inward to our experience and paying attention in a particular way to allow oneself to be present moment to moment non-judgmentally.” While these words might sound soothing, in reality this is a description of the Buddhist practice of finding your inner peace within oneself with the understanding that nirvana can only be found within.As we have explained, this is completely counter to our Christian belief that our inner self is sinful, and the only way to redemption is through Christ.

Now that the ACLJ has exposed that the DOE has given its full support for this dangerous Mindfulness curriculum, how can you, as a parent, best protect your children?  Parents must speak up and voice their opposition to these programs. We have prepared an informational memo which contains helpful information regarding mindfulness programs, the research cautioning against the implementation of these programs, as well as legal discussion to assist parents in addressing the issue with teachers, school officials, and local school boards. It takes grassroots actions, where parents like you stand up and demand change. It’s time to take back your children’s education.

You can view the 2,000-page document production we obtained from the Department of Education here: Part 1 (102.3mb) | Part 2 (107.4mb).

Stop Forcing Buddhist Meditation on Kids in School

Religious Liberty  Signatures


Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.

Make this a monthly Tax-Deductible gift.

As we aggressively battle against (taxpayer-funded) indoctrination in schools, we urgently need your support. Have your gift DOUBLED today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.

Email Address is required.
First Name is required.
Last Name is required.
Credit Card Number is required.
Verification Code is required.
Expiration Month is required.
Expiration Year is required.
Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from the ACLJ.
Encourage your friends to sign and donate by sharing this petition.

ACLJ In Court: Close Your Church OR Get a Liquor License

By Jordan Sekulow1627679966467

A church in northern Virginia is being asked by Prince William County – one of America’s richest counties in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. – to get a liquor license to function as a church on their property the way it lets breweries and wineries function. Think about the absurdity of that. The...

read more

The ACLJ Is in Court Fighting Against Government Overreach

By Jordan Sekulow1626463283920

In the City of Ocala, Florida, we are currently in a legal battle at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals over a flawed federal district ruling declaring that government officials can no longer encourage citizens to pray amid a difficult time in their community and volunteer chaplains can no...

read more

ACLJ Appeals Ruling Finding Support for Prayer Vigil Unconstitutional

By Abigail A. Southerland1625749140000

Last week, and just before the celebration of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, the ACLJ filed our opening brief on behalf of the City of Ocala, Florida, in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to preserve our first freedom: religious liberty . Specifically, we are challenging a district...

read more

School Backs Down After Confiscating 2nd Grader's Bible at School

By Francis J. Manion1622638740000

A little girl had her Bible confiscated by school officials. How could this still be happening in America? From our founding in 1990, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has been at the forefront of defending the First Amendment rights of students to pray, evangelize, read their Bibles,

read more

American Center for Law and Justice | Washington D.C. | Copyright © 2021, ACLJ | Privacy & Security Policy | Annual Report

The ACLJ is an organization dedicated to the defense of constitutional liberties secured by law.

Visit to submit a legal help request. All legal requests submitted via any other method cannot be answered.

Through our $1 Million Matching Challenge, all gifts will be doubled, dollar-for-dollar, up to the online daily total.

American Center for Law and Justice is a d/b/a for Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, Inc., a tax-exempt, not-for-profit, religious corporation as defined under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, specifically dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights. The Center's purpose is to engage legal, legislative and cultural issues by implementing an effective strategy of advocacy, education and litigation to ensure that those rights are protected under the law. The organization has participated in numerous cases before the Supreme Court, Federal Court of Appeals, Federal District Courts, and various state courts regarding freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Your gift is very much appreciated and fully deductible as a charitable contribution. A copy of our latest financial report may be obtained by writing to us at P.O. Box 90555, Washington, DC 20090-0555.