Girl Sent to Principal for Refusing to Get Weighed in Front of Classmates

One 13-year-old girl in Des Moines, Iowa, is my new hero today, after refusing to be weighed at school in front of her classmates. Yeah, apparently that's a thing now, you know, to combat the obesity epidemic. Ireland Hobert Hoch absolutely refused and even got sent to the principal's office over it.


"I really wasn't comfortable with anybody but my mom and doctor knowing my weight," the slender teen said. "For another person to know -- that's not important to them." 

The school says it is important though, because apparently if your teacher doesn't know your BMI, you'll never get into a good college. Forty percent of the nation's schools require teenagers to be weighed, and 20 states require it. No statistics available on how weight factors into a student's GPA.

Jennifer Peterson, president of the Iowa Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (how big are her business cards?), defended the measure, saying, "If it's a math test, is a teacher not going to include something that is vital for a student's math skills?"

Um, OK ... schools are supposed to teach math. What does weighing a kid in front of his or her classmates have anything to do with academia?

The school says it's totally cool, because the other students are a good 5 or maybe 10 feet away from the scale, which is too far away to see the numbers or what the teacher writes down. Somehow no other students ever get a peek at that sheet of paper, because gym teachers keep it under lock and key.

Ireland's mom was surprised when she was called to the principal's office to pick up her daughter, but she totally supports her. She hadn't even known about the weight test and questioned its validity. "If it's so important, why are parents not told? So what is the purpose?" Heather Hobert Hoch asked.

That's a really good question.

When she voiced her concerns, she was told by Southeast Polk Junior High Principal Mike Dailey that she was the only one complaining and that they'd done it for years. Because apparently continuing to do dumb things is fine if that's the way you've done them for years.

As a former 13-year-old girl with body image issues (please introduce me to one 13-year-old girl without body image issues and I'll buy you a unicorn that poops skittles), I'm having a hard time believing this is the first time anyone has ever complained about being weighed. It may be the first time anyone has stood up for themselves and gotten sent to the principal's office over it, but I guarantee you Ireland is not alone in her discomfort over the procedure.

This girl deserves a round of applause for sticking up for herself and not allowing her teacher to bully her into doing something she's incredibly uncomfortable doing. Kids don't need to be weighed at school, and if they refuse to take part in an activity that requires it, they do not deserve to be disciplined.

Do you think schools have a right to require students to be weighed and measured?


Image via wader/Flickr

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