The mother of a Robert Stuart Junior High School student says she is angry that her 13-year-old son was hypnotized at a school assembly and is considering a lawsuit.
"I basically want parental consent," Leslie Day said Wednesday. "If I would have had a say-so in the matter, I would have said no."Day and Pastor Fred Barton of the Magic Valley Baptist Fellowship asked Twin Falls School Board members Tuesday to explain why Day's son Isaiah was hypnotized at a Robert Stuart assembly last week.
The hypnotism demonstration by Jack Lythgoe of Twin Falls, who holds programs around the country, was one of several assemblies the school conducts for students every year, Principal Dale Thornsberry said.
Lythgoe describes how hypnotism is used and how it should not be used, Thornsberry said. As part of his demonstration, about 15 students are hypnotized.
Lythgoe declined comment.
Day said while her son was hypnotized, he held his hand in the air and made a fist, stared at ceiling lights and put his hands together and tried to take them apart. Isaiah was told by his friends later what he did and came home feeling tired, his mother said.
She does not feel her son was physically or mentally harmed, but both she and the pastor said the hypnotism was unwarranted and potentially dangerous.
"It could have repercussions we don't know about," Barton said. "We think our children and their minds are at stake. A lot of us in the spiritual domain feel like (hypnotism) it is an open door to the occult."
The school board will work with Superintendent Terrell Donicht on a response, Chairman Steve Tolman said.
In the meantime, Assistant Superintendent Ken Olson said the district would talk to teachers about the hypnotism assembly, but he did not think parental consent was a big issue.
"If parents do a good job raising their kids than those kids will participate in activities that reflect the values they are taught in the home," Olson said.
If the school requested parental consent on everything that may upset parents, it would be doing so every day, Thornsberry said.
"It's hard to determine what is controversial," he said. "I don't know how to resolve it."
Barton said he hoped people would not see his and Day's objection as religious fanaticism.
"Our intent is to come across as thinking people with different mores," he said. "Many of us are concerned about what is happening in our schools."