Only in NY – School hands 66 lb girl note saying she’s fat

posted at 5:31 pm on May 24, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Tales from the Nanny State continue to the amazement of nobody, I’m sure. In a story coming from (where else…) New York City, the wise school officials, ever concerned about the health and future of their students, decided to check out what each of the kids weighs, matching the results against some Body Mass Index chart. Upon noting that many of the children failed to pass muster, they decided to inform the parents… by handing the kids notes to take home. What could possibly go wrong?

A New York City mom was fit to be tied Wednesday after her 4-foot-1, 66-pound daughter came home from school with a note calling her fat.

Eight-year-old Gwendolyn Williams is anything but fat, but her mom worries that the school’s note, citing her body mass index, has left her daughter confused about her body.

“My daughter is thin; she knows she doesn’t have a weight problem, but that night, I caught her grabbing the skin near her waist, and she asked me, ‘is this what they were talking about?”‘ Laura Bruiji Williams, the girl’s mom, told “It was awful to see.”

Gwendolyn, along with her classmates, were handed a “Fitnessgram” sealed with a sticker at her public school in Brooklyn. The class was told not to open the letters, issued by the New York City Department of Education, but like most of her friends, she couldn’t resist and read it.

Who could have possibly predicted that a group of curious pre-teens, having been handed mysterious notes for their parents carrying instructions not to open them, would go ahead and open them anyway? Probably anyone with any experience whatsoever with children and one half the common sense that God gave a goat. But not in this school!

But perhaps more disturbing is the idea that an eight year old who weighs in at 66 pounds was somehow off the bell curve on the fat end. Are they just trying to encourage bulimia in the next generation? Does this girl really look fat to you?


Welcome to New York. And with that greeting out of the way, flee as you value your lives. This place is a lost cause.

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For fun I went to the Mayo Clinic BMI Calculator and out in her info. Her BMI comes to 19.3
Per Mayo, the “ideal BMI” for a girl her age is from 13.5 to 18.3. This translates to her needing to weigh from 46 to 62 lbs.
FORTY SIX LBS? That girl looks totally normal. If she weighed 20 lbs less like Mayo says is normal then Child Protective Services would incarcerate her parents for starving her.
Am so glad I’m not a parent these days.
Smegley on May 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM

BMI is probably the most worthless measure out there. My brother is “morbidly obese” except has nearly zero body fat and benches over 300lb.

Nutstuyu on May 24, 2014 at 8:49 PM

As someone who left NY in the past year to go to Virginia, I know fully both systems. NY is nuts – comparatively VA is sane. I have a student and a teacher in VA schools and I worry that it is going to go downhill. By the way it is a provision of Obamacare that all students will be weighed and BMId with the info reported with names to the FEDS. My student refused in VA and was allowed to refuse. Try that in NY.

StuckinliberalNY on May 24, 2014 at 8:51 PM

But it’s for her own good…

darkpixel on May 24, 2014 at 9:05 PM

“Girl, you is too fatz.” – Michelle “Big Butt” Obama.

Pork-Chop on May 24, 2014 at 9:10 PM

This happened to a friend of mine about 8 years ago. Her kids was in a public school in central NJ. Her son was not fat, and had always been an honor student. We suggested she tell school administrators what to do with the note, but she is more polite than we are. Way to harass kids into private school, liberals.

She ended up enrolling him in sports and they stopped sending notes. Turns out he was a good athlete as well. Not bad for a so-called fat kid.

Philly on May 24, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Unbelievable and yet believable…. Gwendolyn, you are perfect. Let it go, sweetie. These people are idiots.

MAzingrace on May 24, 2014 at 10:24 PM

CDC site has her at normal.

lorien1973 on May 24, 2014 at 9:22 PM

That query was for an adult, Lorien.

socalcon on May 24, 2014 at 10:39 PM

Sounds like bullying and discrimination to me.

flataffect on May 24, 2014 at 11:57 PM

Eh, I see both sides of this.

On the one hand, that girl is obviously not fat.

On the other hand, many (verging on most) kids are getting fat and it’s reasonable for the schools to inform parents that their fat kids are fat, and it defeats the purpose if you let “common sense” and the eyeball test determine which parents need to be confronted with their kids’ fatness, since those parents commons sense and eyeball tests obviously haven’t worked to this point.

So what standards should be used? Well, not New York’s, obviously.

HitNRun on May 24, 2014 at 6:32 PM

No, it’s still a bad idea. The only way the school should even potentially notify the parents is if the body weight is so far out of normal to amount to obesity.

Minor variations outside of a normal range should either be ignored, or at most include a reassuring note that the weight is only slightly out of normal, and should not be a cause for concern, though they are free to monitor more closely.

For people who are in the normal range, or just slightly outside of it, there is a better answer than “send a note home suggesting a weight problem.”

It’s called education. Ironic, huh.

That is, don’t try to diagnose children’s health from the notoriously inaccurate BMI stat. Just teach about health and fitness in general, and let it alone.

BMI statistics are close to useless for grown, muscular men, and for children, and for the very tall or the very short — though not for the same reasons in each case. Lots of children gain a little bit of weight right before hitting a growth spurt. I’ve seen boys who really are fat, and then they hit a growth spurt, lose all their “baby fat,” and suddenly the girls are talking about how cute they are. (Couldn’t see it, myself, but then I’m male.)

It’s amazing how many know-it-alls don’t really know what they’re talking about, but are willing to tell everyone else how to live. Such people gravitate to education, bureaucracies, and especiall educational bureaucracies.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 25, 2014 at 1:48 AM

Unfortunately, that report is taken straight from WebMD.

You can plug in her birthday in 2005, height 4’1″ and her weight of 66 and get the same result.

So apparently WebMD gives adults cancer and kids eating disorders.

Health can only be determined by objective measures, not subjective ones. Percentile is a relationship between the whole population. How your health is in relation to the whole population has zero to do with your personal health. If everyone is sick but you aren’t, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.

kalvinb on May 24, 2014 at 6:09 PM

WebMD should be ashamed of themselves.

The define overweight based not on body fat, but on where your BMI falls in comparison to others. In this case, they classify anything in the 86th percentile or above as overweight.

Then, they actually predict an adult weight, which is the height of arrogance and stupidity.

And they actually suggest getting blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels — after fasting, of course — because ‘overweight’ children might have heart disease or diabetes. And, of course, an appointment needs to be made with the pediatrician to discuss the health risks.

That’s an awful lot to put a 9-year-old girl through just because of her BMI, with no other health factors.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 25, 2014 at 2:21 AM

If that little girl can’t learn to accept that she is fat, how the heck is she ever going to accept that a surveillance state is hope, or that having the government assign you a doctor is freedom.

catsmeow on May 25, 2014 at 7:56 AM

I still can’t believe the rubber rooms where teachers went as punishment to some offense and were paid for not doing their job; Like they say, “Only in NY”.

mixplix on May 25, 2014 at 7:57 AM

There is madness in the so called education system across this country.

Not long ago a NY teacher cancelled the kindergarten/first grade play so time could be better spent getting the children prepared for college.

Tell me these educators are sane…………

Lee Jan on May 25, 2014 at 8:08 AM

In some other pictures, from the side, she does have a bit of a tummy.

I do have a problem with a teacher contacting the parents in this way. It’s none of her business.

I don’t have a problem with the school nurse sending a letter (mail or e-mail or phone call) to keep an eye on her weight, but the girl should not see it. The last thing she needs is to feel subpar as a female due to weight. She totally doesn’t need to go down that rabbit hole. But her parents do need to stay vigilant about diet and activity levels.

Also, wouldn’t her doctor catch this during a yearly check-up? Why does the school think they need to get involved in this manner? Buncha nannies. The schools have always screened for things like scoliosis, which can be helpful, but it’s just getting to be too much.

Allahs vulva on May 25, 2014 at 2:32 PM

And they wonder where the next generation of anorexics will come from.

NevadaD on May 25, 2014 at 3:37 PM

It’s only going to get worse. Common core and the corporate fascists behind it are going to make every child’s biometrics public knowledge.

Murphy9 on May 25, 2014 at 4:19 PM

My student refused in VA and was allowed to refuse.

StuckinliberalNY on May 24, 2014 at 8:51 PM

For now.

GWB on May 25, 2014 at 5:27 PM

There is an old tale told about New York state (although it’s been told about too many other states) that says “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe when the New York State legislature is in session.” It’s just that in the 21st century it isn’t only the state legislature that we have to worry about.

Fred 2 on May 26, 2014 at 1:43 AM

I’m certain the BMI data sets used by the Gubmint health community were derived from Bergenbelzen, Dachau & Aschwitz studies. Survivors of course.

Missilengr on May 26, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Michelle Obama’s lips are fatter than this girl.

I shan’t mention Michelle’s posterior; that would be impolite of me.

It’s pretty big, tho’.

Sherman1864 on May 26, 2014 at 7:11 PM

It’s my opinion these people are trying to live vicariously through their kids. Get off their backs and let them be kids.

crankyoldlady on May 24, 2014 at 7:12 PM

We homeschooled 3 of our 4 kids.

Our oldest wanted to stay in public schools. In first grade, I taught her to add numbers in the millions just by carrying… and I received a note from her teacher to stop getting her so far ahead of the others. By the time she graduated, she was just an average student.

Our next daughter struggled with public schools and she was on the edge of failing out and getting labeled as learning deficient. We started homeschooling and finally figured out that she had Lupus and couldn’t concentrate in school because of her arthritis pain. While she didn’t go to college, she is a hard worker, got married, and is raising our grandson… all without being labeled as a failure.

Our son, always focused on getting his work done early so that he could be a kid while others slaved away in school. He later outdid his oldest sister in college placement tests. He just graduated music business college (that he is paying for), and is running a promoter business at the age of 21. By the way, his music group also released their EP on iTunes a week ago.

Our youngest is fond of horses (and has two of her own that she is training). She participated on a horsebowl team, and the team won nationals. When studying, a nurse thought she was taking nurses in college. When Aimee explained her studying (which was Latin names of parasites, muscle groups, and illnesses), the nurse said they didn’t get to that until the 2nd year of nursing college. (Aimee was 14 at the time.) She is currently 17 and working with my brother-in-law to restore an old pickup truck. She plans on going into horse chiropractory after apprenticing to one in our area. It’s a 3-day certification test, where she can make 6 figures after she finishes. All her homeschooling and horsebowl nationals will ensure that its easy for her. She will probably take over my wife’s horseboarding business.

Your opinion is wrong because the school SYSTEM holds back over-achievers, while homeschooling allows kids to focus on what they want, and run as fast as they want. Every single evaluation bears out the superior education of homeschoolers.

Why does anyone think kids spending days locked in rooms of same-aged kids is normal? Our kids got to go on many field trips, know how to carry on conversations with adults, and can think far better than any of the indoctrinated kids… and they did it by following THEIR interests! And they’ve run with it!

dominigan on May 26, 2014 at 8:28 PM