Georgia’s BMI law

7 Mar



By J. Anthony Wilkins, Retired PAGE* Member

 (*Professional Association of Georgia Educators)

The bill mandating that schools in Georgia measure the BMI of each student next year passed the Georgia Senate this week.  Now, it goes for consideration by the House of Representatives.  Every citizen needs to read this piece of legislation carefully.  This action makes one wonder what next will come about in our fair state potentially impacting the effectiveness of our schools.


I guess schools next will be mandated to perform the actual dental work, chiropractic treatment, immunizations, and only the Good Lord knows what else, right there at the school house.  They have already been assigned head lice, drugs, gangs, teen pregnancy, multi-lingual education, and several other social problems to solve.  Are there any issues left for the home to resolve?  And, “they” wonder why test scores are sometimes lower than desired and expected!  Maybe, the focus is spread too thin!


Why are school personnel frustrated to the highest level possible these days?  Why is the rate of first year teachers remaining in the profession for more than three years so low?  Why are so many teachers leaving the profession after they get those 30 years in?  Schools can’t do everything for everybody!  We’ve taken “in loco parentis” to the point of being totally ridiculous!  It was never meant for school personnel to completely replace parents, as some appear to suggest nowadays.


I do agree that obesity has become a huge (no pun intended) problem for us, but who should be the ones to deal with it each day for the betterment of the children they brought into the world?  What has happened to personal responsibility for one’s actions?  Perhaps, schools should take children at birth and keep them under tight supervision and jurisdiction until they reach the age of 21.  That totally absurd proposal might be the only way to offset one of the biggest problems schools have in many casestrying to undo in six hours what has been done the other eighteen. 


The school has become a “Mr. Fix It” for all social shortcomings!  For all practical purposes, academics have long ago been put on the back burner.  Schools have been used by the government as a social change agent and for social remediation for so long that one has to struggle to recall when the focus was where it should beon academics for those students who are willing to get the job done, to demonstrate a good work ethic, not be a behavioral problem, and to appreciate supportive and involved parents!  That’s the formula which produces responsible, productive, and competent citizens!  And, isn’t that the primary purpose of public education?


One day when the role of public education has been completely undermined by the lack of funding, unrealistic and misguided expectations, and outright destructive legislation, we may look back and wonder why we threw the baby out with the bath water.  And, without the availability of the public schools to be the “whipping boy” any longer, whatever will be used as the new political football by ambitious politicians in the future?


 Overview of the law here.

 My reaction is that if you’re going to mandate weighing children, why not the adults, too?  I think the average weight of the faculty might be just as important.  In fact, given the cost of insurance, it is more relevant to the cost of education overall.  Now that I think about it, the average BMI should be taken twice a year at every government facility and institution.  Once the average BMI gets into the obese range, there should be some sort of consequences.  In the case of congress, they should be prohibited from passing new legislation as well as from collecting paychecks until they slim down.

As if Georgia schools weren’t ridiculous enough.



4 Responses to “Georgia’s BMI law”

  1. sleepycollege student March 7, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

    I agree with the writer of the article. I don’t believe that the governments job should be to take all responsibility away from the public and police every aspect of our lives. For every choice you make there is a consequence. People who choose to eat junk will have to live with the consequence of a higher BMI.

    Measuring children’s BMI is a doctors job and not a schools responsibility. Politicians need to focus on the health care access issues and use a more appropriate method to ensure that families can get appropriate affordable coverage. The role of a teacher in fighting obesity is to be a good role model through eating right at school and educating children on health. Nothing more nothing less.

  2. designonpost March 7, 2008 at 11:19 pm #

    I think that if we’re going to go this far then we should just go all out and create “Community Schools”, particularly in low-income, innercity areas. Make the schools a one-stop shop. BUT, to work they must be funded fully. Which we all know never happens.

    Does the law say anything about what they’re going to do with the info once they get it? They’ve gotten rid of PE and recess so how are they going to fix it? Changing school lunches hasn’t done anything. It irritates me when people who have never been in a classroom attempt to write educational legislation. <>

  3. Dick March 9, 2008 at 9:07 pm #

    I agree, sleepycollege student, we’ve got full plates with just measuring academic performance let alone the size and shape of each child. Educating is what we do, and we can do that much if it is made part of the curriculum. Not likely with all the AYP hoopla.

    Designpost, they are supposed to aggregate it (to protect individual privacy) and then come up with a composite BMI. Then if it is too high, the school will be designated an “unhealthy school.”

    This will hit poor and minority schools the hardest, like every other unfunded mandate.


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