Today in Shitty Happenings in Our Public Education System, schools in North Andover, MA are now sending letters home with kids who are considered underweight, overweight, and obese according to their BMI. This is especially bullshit because letters home in grade school are supposed to be for awesome stuff like field trips and getting the A-OK to consume birthday cupcakes. Thankfully, some parents are pissed about this, and they're fighting back.
Two of these parents belong to Cameron Watson, an adorable ten-year-old student/MMA mini-fighter who was sent home with one of the
scarlet fat letters. Anyone who spends two minutes observing this active kid could tell you he's not obese; he's fit. It's a classic case of the BMI not accounting for muscle mass, and instead forcing everyone into its rigid, draconian chart. Further, even if he was a fat kid, don't you think everyone in his world would know that by, er, looking at him? He doesn't walk around all day wearing a garbage bag, and most everyone has eyeballs and brains. Seems pretty simple.
Is sending letters home informing parents that their fat kids are fat really a necessary step? For those who argue that some people don't know their kids are fat/don't understand proper nutrition/are confused by exercise — then wouldn't it be better to focus on these things for all parents and kids? What about sending a letter home that says "Hey, kids are unhealthier than ever, and here's some ways to improve your lives." And if we're so serious about helping kids become healthy, why not provide workshops, counseling, and other resources to help parents of all kids practice good nutrition and physical fitness at home? Singling out fat kids is not only unfair, it's incredibly unproductive.
Even though the letter is awesomely not fazing Cameron, he still knows it's mean. He says, "I don't like that my friend's feelings are being hurt." If it's something so simple that a ten-year-old boy can understand it, why are adults so slow to pick it up? Do people honestly not remember what it was like to be that age at all? Refresher: It's almost impossibly hard, and calling out fat kids isn't helping anyone. Maybe it's time to try something new.