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Denver elementary schools are considering replacing detention with yoga

A pilot program in Denver Public Schools is replacing traditional detention with Yoga sessions. The program is not intended to take it easy on the kids, but rather is a way to re-evaluate the way discipline is administered, said a yoga instructor. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for GILT)

Under a new pilot program funded by Denver Public Schools, some Colorado elementary schools are replacing traditional detention with yoga.

What's the story?

The Denver Public School system has allocated $100,000 of taxpayer money to fund a pilot program that is intended to test the efficacy of using yoga sessions in place of regular detention in elementary schools, according to the Denver Post. Forty-two schools applied for the funding, and seven were ultimately chosen to receive the funds.

The money is scheduled to be disbursed over the next two years, and is designed to allow the schools to hire professional yoga instructors to teach yoga sessions to kids whose behavior would otherwise have landed them in detention.

How's it going so far?

The first school to receive the funds was Doull Elementary in Denver. Doull used the money to hire yoga instructor Trinidad Heffron, who the students refer to as "Miss Triny."

Heffron insists that the program is not intended to take it easy on the kids, but rather is a way to re-evaluate the way discipline is administered. Heffron told KCNC-TV in Denver that "Yoga and meditation, they’re not necessarily an easy practice. I would say it’s challenging, but useful."

School psychologist Carly Graeber defended the program to KCNC by saying, "What’s more important? Punishing kids for a mistake they made or teaching them some skills that they can actually use in life to not make the same mistakes again?"

She continued, "Math and reading and science and social studies are all so important to us here, but also we’re really in the business of teaching kids social and emotional skills that they can use for their lives, so how to solve problems, how to deal with complicated feelings and things like that."

According to KMGH-TV, the program is at least popular with the students. So popular that the school has opened up a third, after-hours session where non-detention students can come and participate in the yoga sessions. And school officials claim it is helping in the classroom as well.

The pilot program will be rolled out to six other Denver-area schools over the next two years. At that time, the Denver Public School system will evaluate the efficacy of the program for possible wider implementation.

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