The bill, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Jeremy Gray, would remove the ban on yoga, allowing K-12 students enrolled in public school to take the class as an elective. Whether the class is offered would be left up to local boards of education, but the bill would allow the class to be presented as an option.
“I can give you a ton of reasons why yoga is beneficial and those reasons are backed by studies and data,” Gray said in an email to CNN. “There is no study to my knowledge that says doing yoga exercise converts people to Hinduism.”
“We should not be spending taxpayer money, resources and time teaching children Eastern spiritual practices,” Gerritson told CNN.
Gerritson told CNN she would not be against a yoga as an extracurricular activity, like as a school club.
State banned yoga in schools in 1993
But yoga has been banned in Alabama public schools since 1993, Gray said. He first introduced a bill to overturn the ban in 2019.
“If yoga exercise is good enough for our Alabama prisons, local gyms, local churches, private/charter schools, sports teams, military & veterans, and the everyday citizen, then why is it not good enough for our most vulnerable children in K-12 public schools?” Gray said. “This bill not passing would be a great disservice to those children who really need it.”
Gray, who practiced as a yoga instructor and has been doing yoga for more than a decade, said Alabama was the only state to ban it in public schools. Gray, who played football at North Carolina State University, was introduced to yoga as an athlete.
The bill remained in committee due to a tie vote, Gray said. But two lawmakers were absent, so the committee approved a motion to have the bill brought back up at a later date.
The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill again next week, Gray said. If the bill passes committee, it will be sent to the full Senate for approval. The bill has already approved by the Alabama House of Representatives.
CNN’s Madeline Holcombe contributed to this report.
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