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Christian student wins $150K after public school allegedly tried to force her into idol worship

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A former Christian student at a Chicago public school reacted to winning $150K after she alleged in a lawsuit that while on campus she was forced into participating in Hindu rituals, according to the original complaint. 

“I’m a very strong Christian,” Mariyah Green said in an interview with Fox News Digital. She said a woman who was teaching her meditation in mandated “Quiet Time” asked her to bow to an image of a foreign deity she did not recognize. The woman teaching the meditation said it would help her internalize the mantras and bring her to “Zen.” 

Green believes that she was nearly forced into idol worship. “Like, I’m in school right now, why is we learning how to meditate in this way? I just knew it wasn’t right. So that’s what made me take the initiative and go home to tell my parent and my auntie, who was my pastor at the time, that I didn’t feel comfortable with what they was enforcing on me at school.” 

“The only time I kneel was when I was at the altar at church when I’m praying and I’m kneeling down for God because that was a way that we was taught, but not the kneeling to that idol. It was inappropriate,” she said. 

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hindu christian high school student

Christian high school student wins victory after alleging Chicago Public Schools forced her into Hindu rituals. (Fox News Digital)

The complaint, originally filed by law firm Mauck & Baker, in February, alleged that the compelled rituals violated her deeply-held religious beliefs during the “Quiet Time” program implemented at Chicago Public Schools. The district said it terminated the program in 2020 and denied that it at any time violated any of its students’ constitutional rights. 

“CPS used was Quiet Time — a meditation-based social-emotional learning tool… which develops programs to serve populations dealing with violence and trauma,” the district said in a statement. 

The program encompassed the practice of “Transcendental Meditation” and the repetition of “mantras,” which were “fundamentally religious in nature,” according to the complaint. The students were informed the mantras were “meaningless words,” but after Green did some research she found they were actually “the names of Hindu Gods,” according to the lawsuit. 

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Green said students were informed not to tell anyone about their mantras, because if it “got out” it wouldn’t be as effective. 

Green also alleged that students were shown a picture of a “guru” and were asked to bow to it during a “Puja” ceremony, according to the complaint. 

Chicago public schools hindu gods

Chicago Public School students were subjected to ‘Quiet Time’ mediations which included mantras for Hindu gods, according to a lawsuit. (Adobe Stock)

“During a ‘Puja’ initiation ceremony, specific items are presented to the picture of Guru Dev while the ‘Transcendental Meditation’ instructor chants aloud in Sanskrit for about three to five minutes and performs certain rehearsed ritual movements,” the lawsuit said. “CPS students were regularly asked by the instructors to participate in the ‘Puja’ by placing various items before the image of Guru Dev or to kneel before that image.” 

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First, the student tried to make excuses to “avoid kneeling before the image of a man in a photograph on a table in the middle of the room who looked like Buddha, as it was against Green’s religion to kneel before anyone except for Jesus Christ,” the lawsuit stated. 

Chicago public schools 150K hindu gods

Court documents alleged Chicago Public School students were asked to bow to an image of a Hindu ‘guru.’ (FOX News Digital)

Green also said she didn’t understand why the school was using instructional time for the Hindu rituals, while she simultaneously felt the public wasn’t teaching her enough to be at her best footing for college. 

“Some kids also they can – they be put in a situation where we can be manipulated… Because who knows what the chant could have meant and what I was putting in my mind, and [then] channel into myself or you know my life. So you just got to be careful because… like the devil will come in different ways,” she said. 

The school district recognized the “resolution between parties” in the case but denied any liability as a result of the Queit Time program.

“On October 23, 2023, a United States District Court judge entered judgment in the matter of Green v. Board of Education, et al. as a result of a voluntary resolution between the parties akin to a settlement. The District has always denied, and continues to deny, any liability as a result of the Quiet Time program, and there has not been any finding of liability in this case by a judge or a jury,” the district said. 

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