Flagstaff Fatties to be Outted by School District in Letters to Parents; People Not Happy

The Flagstaff Unified School District has received numerous phone calls from angry parents regarding an article in the Arizona Daily Sun, which outlines the district's plan to send letters home to parents of some of the district's tubbiest tots.

The story first appeared in the paper on Friday, and, as expected, people are outraged at the idea of the school classifying students as fatties.

One school employee tells New Times she's received several calls from angry parents since the Sun's article ran. She says people seem to be overreacting.

"It's not like they're gonna send a letter home to parents saying their kids are fat," she says.

Technically she's right. The district won't be sending home letters saying "hey, lousy parent, you're kid's a fatso." The letter is simply a suggestion to parents of overweight -- and underweight -- kids to have their children checked out by a doctor, something that has been done as long as the employee could remember.

However, in the Sun's report, the paper claims the FUSD hasn't sent home letters about a student's weight for years.

From the Sun:

Long ago, a student's height and weight used to be mailed home with a report card, but that hasn't been the case for years at FUSD.

The letter goes beyond those numbers by outlining what these heights and weights mean in the greater context of the population.

Nurses at the school estimate that about 50 percent of the district's elementary school students will fall under the category of either overweight or borderline overweight.

The letters will be similar to those sent to parents after students have their eyes or ears checked. In a sample letter provided to New Times by the district, the letter compares the student to the average weight (based on the body mass index) and then recommends the student sees a doctor.

Childhood obesity is a big problem in Flagstaff. As the Sun dutifully points out, there are reports of children as young as 4 years old who face obesity-related diabetes.

Check out the Sun's full report here.

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James King
Contact: James King