7/25/2014

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Issaquah schools to stop weighing students in front of peers

Issaquah schools to stop weighing students in front of peers
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ISSAQUAH, Wash. - Responding to a torrent of criticism from concerned parents, the Issaquah School District has discontinued the practice of weighing teenage students in front of their classmates, school officials said.

Many parents said the weigh-in amounted to public shaming of students at a vulnerable age and criticized the practice as cruel and humiliating.

"I think it's mean. I think it's cruel," said mom Blythe Mercer.

School officials took the criticism seriously and have decided to discontinue the weigh-ins immediately, said Brian Deagle, Issaquah school board president.

"As the president of the Issaquah School District Board of Directors I can tell you that the board does not agree with a policy of publicly weighing students. Period," he wrote in a message to parents.

He said the weigh-ins were never meant to be done in a public manner.

"I have spoken with Superintendent Ron Thiele. He has shared that while the district's intentions were never to create an uncomfortable environment for students, obtaining height and weight in PE classes has had, for some, that unintended effect," Deagle wrote. "Further, concerns have come forward from parents, students and community members that raised valid points regarding student self-esteem issues."

He said the district has decided to discontinue collecting students' height or weight data. Any height and weight data already collected will be deleted, he said.

The original purpose of collecting weight data was to help students better manage their health as part of a comprehensive program, but the district now believes the program can be effective if students monitor their own data.

Mercer, for her part, said she welcomes the school district's quick response to parents' concerns.

"I'm excited our district made a quick decision to end weighing (and) measuring kids at school," she says.
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