Parents upset to hear children being weighed in front of classmates

by: Lee Stoll Updated:

Fitness program includes recording every student's weight

Issaquah, Wash. - Parents want teachers to stop putting their kids on a scale after several came home in tears. The Issaquah School District started a new middle school fitness program this year, which includes recording every student's weight.

"It could be so damaging," said Blythe Mercer. The mother of four said she was angry when her middle school daughter came home two weeks ago and said she'd been weighed in her physical education class. "Some of the girls came out and they were a little teary, they were upset. My friend's daughter was a little panicky," said Mercer.

This year, the Issaquah School District enrolled in a new fitness and PE program used by other schools across the country. Students learn about exercise, nutrition and their body mass index, or BMI.

A teacher recorded Grace Olsen's height and weight in front of other sixth-grade students at Pacific Cascade Middle School. "It was a little uncomfortable but you could choose not to tell people, but of course, people asked you," said Olsen. The information is used to create a student's profile, which parents and students can access as the child gets older.

"We need to respect student privacy. This isn't something that's meant for the school or any of their classmates to know," said Lorraine Michelle, communications director for the Issaquah School District. Michelle said students can opt out of the in-class weigh-in. Parents can collect the information at home and give it to their child's teacher in private. "It is one component of a larger curriculum," said Michelle. Mercer says she was never told about those options before the scale appeared in her daughter's class. "When's the last time you went in for a job interview and they said, 'Great, how many push-ups can you do and can you step on the scale?'" said Mercer.