Hampton Co. parents upset about overweight letter - WNEM TV 5

Hampton Co. parents upset about overweight letter

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One by one, each student was called into the cafeteria over the intercom. Everyone knew who was in that meeting, and they quickly found out what it was about.

"They weren't pulled individually, they were pulled in as a group, so everyone there knew who else was there, and by the time they were done and got to the next school period, it was labeled the fat meeting," said Cheasta Scheller, the mother of one of the students who received a letter.  

It all started as part of a national effort to prevent childhood obesity. The School conducted a health and body mass index screening on all of their students and identified 40 students who are at risk of becoming obese.

The school offered meetings with nutritionists to discuss better eating habits with those 40 students.

Scheller said she understands what the school was trying to do but she, along with other parents, say this is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

"If you're going to offer a nutrition class, like I said before, you should off a nutrition class for everyone," said Melissa Bairfoot, parent. "Underweight people are just as unhealthy."

Bairfoot's son is autistic, and has been bullied all of his life because of it. His mother says this letter just added fuel to the fire. She admits that he's overweight but according to his pediatrician, he's very healthy.

"He has no heart problems, his cholesterol is fine, he's been checked for diabetes and he doesn't have it. He doesn't have any of those things," said Bairfoot.

Scheller and Angela Bell's kids are athletes, and they were also in that meeting.

According to Bell, her daughter only has 10 percent body fat.

"The pediatrician says that my child is extremely healthy," said Bell.

Bell says she's had a hard time getting her daughter to eat since the letters were given out.

And Scheller has also noticed a change in her son.

"He has started going out at night and running. He's started riding a bike and eating smaller portions. He has even turned down food," she said.

The superintendent for Hampton County School District agrees with the parents. He said he thinks the school handled this incorrectly.

The principal of North District Middle School issued a letter of apology, saying "I understand that some children were teased about being overweight. For this I am deeply sorry."

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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