A 66 pound girl is being called overweight by her school, and her mom is fuming at the claim. A young girl attending elementary school in New York brought home the letter from her school last week, and it made the claim that she was overweight. The nine-year-old girl lives in Staten Island, and she attends P.S. 29. CBS 12 reported on the letter and the mother's reaction to it on May 27.
Gwendolyn Williams is just one of many students that brought home a letter from their schools in New York recently. The nine-year-old is currently 4-foot-1, and she weighs 66 pounds. If you see the little girl, the word overweight is not even the first word that comes to mind. It might not even be the second. When her mother, Laura Bruji Williams, saw the letter, she had to wonder if it was some kind of mistake. Her daughter thought it was a joke.
The "Fitnessgram" was no joke though. Gwendolyn had her body mass index calculated during a school exam, and it was revealed that the young girl was in the 80th percentile. This prompted the school to send out the letter to her mother. Laura Williams, said the following about the letter and the impact it had: "What really concerned me is that then she started asking questions about, you know, she touched her thigh, and she said ‘Is this what they mean?’ And I said ‘Gwen, no, everybody’s thigh jiggles like that. It just really disturbed me on a deep level."
The Department of Education is defending the "fitnessgrams" as a way to help children make life long goals about their health. However, the letters are not being given to the children for their use. They are handed to kids sealed and sent home for their parents to read. Gwendolyn just happened to open hers on her way home from school. She probably shouldn't have opened the letter, but her name was on it. Curiosity prompted her to open the letter meant for her mother.
The problem with letters like this is the fact that it gives young children the idea that skinny is better. Many teens and adults have problems with their own bodies. They think they are fat because of the images of skinny women in the media. However, this is not the media. This is a letter from school saying your child is overweight. Gwendolyn's reaction was to immediately look at her own body. After talking to her mom though, she knew she was not overweight like the letter claimed. She is an active third grader at P.S. 29.
However, another little girl might have a very different and negative reaction. In today's society, there are children as young as five being treated for anorexia, according to The Stir. That is scary to even think about really. Yes, childhood obesity is a problem in this country, but sending a letter home with a child that is far from overweight should not be the norm. It is just one way to cause more young children and teens to have a bad outlook on their own bodies.
What do you think? Should the school have sent home the letter with Gwendolyn? Is she overweight? Share your thoughts below.