ISSAQUAH — At least one parent in the Issaquah School District is worried that a new program aimed at keeping kids physically fit could lead to bullying.
As part of a new wellness program, the school district is weighing students to calculate their body-mass index, which determines if the children are at a healthy weight. But some families are worried taking measurements like that in school could be unhealthy in other ways.
“We are all so different, we’re all individuals. We’re not all 6-foot runway models,” said Blythe Mercer.
“We’re in a district that is known for a high suicide rate and I just don’t want to prick another hole in that balloon,” said Mercer. “I think that’s dangerous, I think we’re playing with fire. I think we need to be so, so careful.”
This fall, the district started measuring and recording students’ body-mass index. The BMI compares height and weight and if you’re overweight or obese. The lesson plan is designed to give kids tools to be healthy throughout their lives.
Obesity is a problem that Issaquah schools are trying to face head-on.
Lorraine Michelle said the program isn’t meant to single out anybody.
“It’s just one indicator of health,” said Michelle. “As students understand their own fitness level, it helps them set goals and move forward.”
But Mercer worries a BMI number doesn’t paint the whole picture when it comes to healthy bodies, and her kids are worried about being teased.
Mercer loves the idea of teaching kids to be healthy, but saidshe wishes the district would butt-out of the body-mass index.
“It’s not our school’s business. This should be left up to our pediatrician,” said Mercer.
The district said the BMI portion of the new program isn’t mandatory and parents can opt out at any time. Parents could also get their child’s BMI at their doctor’s office.