Fitness test: Lawmaker’s plan reaches too far

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Modified: November 21, 2008 at 6:20 am •  Published: November 21, 2008
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Dear Mom and Dad,

While the rest of the class was working on math last week, your son was taken to a private room and asked to step on a scale so the state could figure out if he’s carrying around a little bit too much weight. Guess what? He is. So please do something about it or one of our helpful and concerned state officials might just see to it that you get a visit from a child welfare investigator.

Sincerely,

Helpful and concerned state official

We hope that’s an exaggeration of what state Rep. Richard Morrissette has in mind in proposing fitness screenings for public and homeschool students 16 and younger. But it’s still probably too close for comfort.

Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, said he wants confidential weight and measurement determinations, with parents notified if students are overweight or underweight. Parents with children in those categories could be visited by child welfare officials if they don’t act on the findings, he said. Seriously?

We have supported efforts to get more physical activity in the school day and to get more local, nutritious food into schools. But the idea of turning the state and schools into the weight police is troubling. A student’s general health is a matter between the student, his or her parents and doctors.

Schools have wellness committees to come up with local solutions to health issues. If those committees want fitness testing, then they can open that discussion up for community debate. Maybe parents will even agree. But Morrisette’s proposal as he’s articulated it so far is overreaching.


by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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