"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Should BMI School Screenings Be Illegal?

It is none of the government's business what your child's Body Mass Index (BMI) is.  Why does the government think it has the right to this personal information on students?

 If  minor girls can obtain birth control devices from school without parental knowledge because "kids are sexually active and getting pregnant" and the government should step in and supersede parental medical authority over children, it's no wonder there is a nanny state fixation on student BMIs.  The government (following its logic) should track children's BMI so the parents (the legal guardians of such children) can realize their children are not measuring up to the fitness scale.  

Schools are not medical facilities (at least that is not their stated primary function) and they should not be measuring children without parental knowledge/permission and the information collected might not be correct.  Here's a story from myfoxboston.com about a letter going home to a 10 year old boy from the school stating he was obese, when he is not:

Imagine getting a letter from your child's school and opening it up to find that school officials say your child is obese. One such letter was sent to parents of a 10-year-old, active North Andover boy, and they were not too pleased.

The letter, which was sent home to children in select grades throughout the state, detailed the students' height, weight, and body fat percentage after school screenings which were conducted per state law.

When Cameron Watson's parents first received the letter, they crumpled it up. Cameron, a fourth-grade student, plays football, practices martial arts, and wrestles.

According to his parents, he practices several times a week. In fact, this weekend he is wrestling in the state finals and must weigh in at 95 pounds.

The student's reaction?
"Why do you care? It's not your body. And how they do it? With the numbers, Tom Brady's obese, and he's the skinniest quarterback in the NFL," Cameron said.

His mother views the screening in a negative manner and is taking action:

Cameron's mother Tracy, a North Andover selectwoman, says the state is fixating too much on just a number rather than looking at a child's overall health.

"There were a number of children that, you know, went to bed not feeling great about themselves that night. And that bothered me," she said.

Tracy Watson is also concerned that the screenings cost school districts money, money that could be better spent.

"Why don't we have a nutritionist speak to our children? Why aren't we hiring any more gym teachers?"

Tracy Watson recently filed legislation on the state level to put an end to BMI screenings in schools. 

Good for her.

1 comment:

  1. Please update later with bill numbers and how we can help! Thank you for this update; your reporting is stellar.


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