Trigger Warning: Public Weighting, Fat Shaming, Harassment, and Bullying
When I think of the “Fat shaming” I think horrible comments from internet trolls and unflattering photos in the tabloids with the fatty areas that are circled in red. I honestly never really considered that it could happen at school, and certainly not by the faculty of our children’s school. Yet, it is, in fact, a thing that happens in schools across the country. To add insult to injury, our tax money is going to fund this instead of our children’s education.
I’m going to tell a personal story. My oldest girl, we shall call her Nikki was going to a charter school that was supposed to better prepare her college. She’s thirteen and both me and her grandparents feel strongly that is never too early to think about college. Then one day, I walked on Nikki telling her grandmother that the P.E. teacher at their school was weighing students in front of their entire class! Then shaming them in front of their entire class if their bodies were over the usual norms to the point girls would run out of the room crying.
I don’t think this is what Michelle Obama meant when she was talking about making our students more healthy.
And yes, I believe that kids should have access to healthy foods at school. Especially since for a lot of poor kids, lunch and (sometimes breakfast) are the only meals kids get all day. However, this idea of no one in the school faculty not knowing that the BMI was never intended to calculate someone’s health is alarming.
And what’s worse?
These weighting sessions are a lot of the times not even being conducted by a licensed health professional. No, it’s by someone who has either the bare minimum or no credentials at all.
These people either do know or don’t care about the all studies that have said that there is no true size or weight requirement to automatically determine if someone is healthy. And all of these alarmist, fatphobic articles in the media are not helping parents understand that these public weigh-ins are damaging to young impressionable students who self-esteem at that age is extremely fragile.
This type of trauma can cause things like the beginnings of eating disorders and other mental health issues such as depression or even suicide.
Isn’t bad enough that the media is telling them that everything about them is wrong, and their worth is purely based on their physical appearance?
When this happened to Nikki, I was incensed, and I was all set to go and storm the castle. It was only the begging of Nikki herself, and then eventually going up to have a calm, logical discussion with her principal that Nikki was able to opt out. Yet. it is still going on, and I like said at the beginning it’s happening all over the country.
And that is only the beginning, it’s becoming a frightening trend. It’s time to step up and speak up and demand that our school districts stop publicly weight shaming our kids.