Telegram to DeBlasio: Stop sending Fitnessgrams

Fitnessgram my butt. In a May 22 article in the New York Post, a third grader at PS 29 in Staten Island was told “she was too fat” because she was one point over the “appropriate” “Body Mass Index.” The Department of Education weighed students and “Fitnessgrams” were sent home to students that exceeded the so-called BMI for their height and weight.

The healthy, active 9-year-old who is 4-feet-1 and weighs 66 pounds, said, “Oh my God! Why did I get this?”


Maybe the Department of Education should be more concerned with the fat, over bloated bureaucracy it has become rather than healthy normal children who are growing, happy, active, and fine just the way they are.

Along with the bloated salaries that incompetent teachers, union representatives, and useless principals earn, Fitnessgrams should be filed in the circular pail at the door.

Teachers should be teaching children how to read, write, balance a checkbook, and history. Leave fitness and weight issues up to the parents and pediatricians.

If a child is unable to participate in sports, cannot fit in a seat, or is so obese that the child is unable to function in the classroom, then the teacher should contact the parent and have a conference to work out a plan, but to unilaterally send out a Fitnessgram to students who are otherwise healthy and thriving is just plain irresponsible — not to mention highly detrimental to a young child’s self-esteem.

As it is, our young girls starve themselves to meet some ridiculous standard set by anorexic models, parading in impractical and outrageous ensembles, created by designers who are only concerned with fattening their pockets. And now the Department of Education, which is supposed to educate our children, sees fit to destroy self-esteem, and add to the insanity perpetrated by advertisers and the fashion industry by using outdated, antiquated parameters.

Body Mass Index is supported by the Center of Disease Control, but should not be used for individuals, it was, “Designed by the insurance industry as a way of assessing the health of groups of people, not individuals,” said Chevese Turner of the Binge Eating Disorder Association.

Carmen Farina is so concerned with the number of children committing suicide that she wanted to back the mayor’s assumption that “pre-K expansion could stem the tide of student suicides.” In March, the chancellor recognized that “since January, 10 public school children committed suicide. That is an alarming rate of one student each week.”

Really? Universal pre-K is going to stem the tide of children committing suicide, because we all know that a 4-year-old is prone to depression and routinely has suicidal tendencies. Universal pre-K, which will bloat the budget even more, is the panacea that will reverse this trend.

The mayor and chancellor want to stem the tides alright, but on what? Sending Fitnessgrams to healthy children by a bloated, obese member of the Department of Education. Maybe if they got rid of Fitnessgrams, less children would feel inadequate, and maybe if the Department of Education was concerned with educating our children instead of imposing ridiculous state-wide testing — that means nothing — our children would have less stress and fear of failure. There you go — lower student suicide rates — higher self-esteem, and better education.

Not for Nuthin™, but Mayor DeBlasio, the Department of Education, and Chancellor Farina should be putting the Department of Education on a diet by getting rid of all the dead wood and incompetency that reigns in the system because of a bloated, obese bureaucracy, and put a Fitnessgram in the in-box of all those teachers that should have been reduced a long, long time ago.

Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.

Joanna DelBuono writes about national issues every Wednesday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail her at [email protected]

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