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Measure allowing 20 minutes of relaxation in school ready for final passage

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(The Center Square) – Illinois students could get the opportunity to take part in periodic relaxation activities, including meditation, 20 minutes a week if a measure advancing at the Illinois Statehouse becomes law.

A House committee took up Senate Bill 2872 Wednesday. State Rep. Laura Faver Dias, D-Grayslake, carried the bill.

“I do want to reiterate it is permissive for them to offer 20 minutes of relaxation a week to support students’ mental health in the form of mindful-based movements, yoga, stretching, meditation breathing exercises, walking and stress-relieving activities,” Faver Dias said.

While they are neutral on the bill because it is a suggestion, not a mandate, John Burkey with the Large Unit District Association said time is limited during the school day.

“Because we have so much to get done in the current school day that if something if we are required to do something more something has to come out,” Burkey said.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour, R-Beecher City, pushed back against bill Faver Dias, in particular about whether parents can opt students out of things like yoga exercises.

“Again I would just like to reiterate that it would need to be non-religious yoga,” Faver Dias said.

“There are certain people that don’t believe there is a non-religious yoga,” Wilhour responded.

Others argued schools should focus on getting proficiency rates up.

State Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, said such criticism is out of line.

“I think it is really insulting and really diminishes our respect for the profession of those people that work in our buildings every day,” said Stuart. “This conversation has gotten ridiculous.”

The measure passed committee and could be brought up for final passage in the House before advancing to the governor’s desk.