Georgia parents disturb peace of elementary kids, teachers

While kids at Bullard Elementary School in Kennesaw, Georgia, were chilling, lowering stress, becoming more mindful, some of their parents became agitated and disturbed their children’s inner peace.

Seems some adults did not cotton to the idea of their kids practicing a little yoga, deep breathing and mindfulness that likely allowed them to concentrate better on listening and learning.

The complaining parents could use a bit of education themselves, I believe.

My sister Beth and her business partner Leila, both mental health professionals in Alabama, teach mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Beth has taught me some deep breathing exercises that have helped me relax, sleep better, feel more peaceful. She’s also taught me a few yoga poses that have done wonders for my lower back pain. It’s amazing, really.

So, what harm could this possibly have on elementary students? Or anyone else, for that matter?

On Facebook, some of the parents said the practice of yoga has religions overtones. Historically, perhaps that has some elements of truth, but as my sister said, “the gentle stretches and poses done in mindfulness-based stress reduction are no different from stretches Leila taught her physical education students or the kids she coached 30 years ago.”

The parents also had a problem with their kids uttering the word “namaste,” which means the goodness/light in me sees/honors the goodness/light in you.

Again, the wisdom of my sister: “While that may have some religious tone to it, my goodness, what better way to change the violent, bullying, mean-spirited world than to be able to find a way to see we are all human and have much in common despite our differences.”

So, the adults became agitated. They complained through social media and to the Bullard principal. And the school responded.

The principal wrote a letter of apology and the school has banned the word namaste. The students will also not be allowed to press their hands together and bow.

However, the students will still work on breathing and yoga.

As a former teacher, I’d have given anything for my students to have had the opportunity to practice mindfulness and yoga during the school day.

Two recent reviews and studies by The Mindfulness in Schools Project have concluded:

• Mindfulness for young people is enjoyed by both students and teachers, and does no harm.

• Well-conducted mindfulness exercises can improve the mental, emotional, social and physical health and well-being of young people. It has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, reactivity and bad behavior; improve sleep and self-esteem; improve working memory; and enhance planning, problem-solving and reasoning skills.

Can’t imagine, for the life of me, how any parent in his/her right mind could find fault with any of this.