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Profiles May/June 2021

June 1, 2021
Alabama law removes ban on teaching yoga in schools: former high school in Kansas City to become apartments

Yes to Yoga in Alabama

Yoga is once again legal in Alabama public schools.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a bill allowing K-12 schools to offer elective yoga classes to students.

The law ends a nearly three-decade ban on the practice in the state's public schools.

In 1993, the Alabama State Board of Education banned yoga, hypnosis, meditation and similar practices amid a moral panic fueled by right-wing groups. A parent at one meeting contended that a meditation tape made a teenager "visibly high." 

The new law allows local school boards to decide whether to offer yoga in public schools. The bill requires yoga exercises to be limited to "poses, exercises and stretching techniques."

"Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited," the bill says.

It also mandates that schools use only English descriptive names be used for poses and exercises.

The law goes into effect August 1, just before the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Former high school to become apartments

A 113-year-old building that housed generations of high school students in Kansas City, Mo., for more than a century is on track to become a 138-unit apartment complex.

Flatland KC reports that renovation work on the former Westport High School could begin this summer.

The city's Planned Industrial Expansion Authority has approved a sales tax exemption that will enable the $50 million project to go forward.

The school building opened in 1908; annexes to the school were added in the 1960s and 1990s. The Kansas City school district closed the high school in 2010.

The redevelopment of the old high school calls for a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units to be marketed as workforce housing. The project also will have 20,000 square feet of commercial space.

Completion is expected in late 2022 or early 2023.

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