A Georgia school’s overweight notes were intended only to be seen by the eyes of parents at Coal Mountain Elementary School in Forsyth County, but after the so-called “fat letter” fell into the wrong hands, mother Grethal Van Epps says she has tried in vain to comfort her 10-year-old daughter.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, a “tiny” girl named Kylee Moss was considered overweight based upon her school’s BMI exam.
“She wanted to know if it meant that she was fat because she saw ‘lose weight’ on it,” said the girl’s mother. “Whenever she read it, she only needed help with one word and that was ‘body composition’, and when she knew that her number was bigger than the number for her age, she knew that it meant something. It was frightening to know that a child in second grade would worry about what their body image is.”
Similarly, the fifth grade daughter of Van Epps is an active swimmer who is claimed to not be overweight at all. Van Epps say the girl is relatively tall for her age, but the Body Mass Index exam did not take into account how muscular she is due to swimming four to five times a week. In the school’s overweight notes, all of this information was not taken into account, and now the girl is devastated.
“The damage was done,” Van Epps says. “[My daughter] said, ‘Mom I’m fat. The paper says I’m fat.’ The school didn’t ask her what type of exercising are you doing. The school didn’t ask what do you eat. The school just told her, by how much she weighed and how tall she was, they told her, you’re fat. I can’t… I don’t even have the words to describe the feeling that that made me feel, when my daughter says, ‘I am fat.’ “
Forsyth County School representative Jennifer Caracciolo says Georgia’s SHAPE fitness initiative requires the BMI test to be administered since the southern state is one of the worst ranking states for childhood obesity. The school’s overweight notes are supposed to go home with report cards, and since the envelope is supposed to be addressed to the parents, it’s assumed kids will not sneak a peak. Caracciolo said the so-called fat letter did not “go out with report cards as planned,” and Van Epps believes the results of fitness tests should never be put in the hands of children.
“Ok, I agree, if I want my daughter to go to the school I have to follow the rules, but what they shouldn’t have done is give that letter to my daughter’s hands, addressed to her,” Van Epps says, according to FOX 5. “That letter is for my eyes only.”
School representatives have apologized for sending out the school’s overweight notes in such a manner, but Van Epps also believes parents should have the right to deny BMI testing.