October 29, 2013 11:47 am -

State Rep. Alonzo Aldonado is concerned that a teacher incorporating yoga in her class is illegally teaching religion.

…during an Oct. 19 meeting of the state Legislative Education Study Committee…John Baker Elementary teacher Ann Paulls-Neal told the group she employed yoga with her students, while referring to it as “stretching and mat work” and not associating it with any particular faith.

“Are we teaching yoga in public schools now?” Baldonado reportedly asked Paulls-Neal. “Are parents notified?”

While Paulls-Neal told the committee that one student, who identifies as a Jehova’s Witness, had opted out of the yoga portion of her classes because of their religious beliefs, Baldonado compared the situation to him reading Bible scripture inside a classroom…

“I think it tends to open a door to a practice tied to a religious belief,” Texas-New Mexico newspapers quoted him as saying after the meeting. “There is a good population of people out there who feel that way, so we have to ask if another option is available for them.”

Baldonado himself identifies as a Christian, and was quoted after the meeting saying he homeschools his three daughters while also taking them out of yoga stretching exercises administered as a part of their swim team. But his focus on the issue was chided by state Sen. Bill Soules (D), a fellow committee member, who called it “a concern of the far right.”