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House Arrest —

July 13, 2012

So, WordPress allows a blogger to track the search terms that lead people to your blog. It’s fun to see what searches bring new readers in since most are obviously related to the content Fierce Fatties generates (e.g., obesity chart, swimsuits for fatties), but a few are just a bit skewed and leave me wondering what the hell X has to do with B (e.g., squinty eyes when high, hypnotic ass).

But one particular search has come up in recent days in one form or another. I know why it’s leading to us, but the question asked does not get answered by the blog post it leads to.

The most recent version of the search term says, “What parents should do when schools force fat kids to wear tracking bracelets?” which leads to vesta’s story about the Long Island School District using monitoring bracelets to track the heartbeats, movement and sleeping patterns of overweight and obese children in their schools 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

So I thought it might be fun to answer this question for the parents in Long Island, and elsewhere, whose children have become a part of this Bigass Brother program.

For example, if it were my child, I would remove the monitor and strap it to a cat and wait for the school to ask why little Billy sleeps for 20 hours a day. Or you could ask a friend who is training for the Ironman Triathlon to sponsor your child by wearing the bracelet. Or you could ask one of your child’s thin friends who plays video games all day long to wear it and, when the school begins to lecture you on your child’s sedentary behavior, point out the fact that fat kids aren’t the only ones capable of marathon sloth sessions. Or you could just smash the damn thing with a rock.

What about you? What would you do if your child’s school sent him or her home with a metabolic monitor?

23 Comments leave one →
  1. James permalink
    July 13, 2012 10:29 am

    I might ask a couple of questions.

    If this monitor is a transmitter, what security procedures does the school use to ensure that the monitor cannot be used by someone with nefarious purposes (kidnapping children, paedophiles, &c). Putting transmitters on children is like putting a beacon on them.

    Are they using this for all children, or are they profiling children? One could argue that this is tantamount to official bullying.

    Inquire from a lawyer if this is legal.

    In these days of shrinking education budgets, does the school have a better place to spend my tax money, say on, education?

    Whilst neither I nor my son qualify as “overweight,” the subject interests me as I have seen such bullying of family and friends.

  2. July 13, 2012 10:29 am

    i would call my schools principal and tell them that no way in hell is he making just the fatties wear the bracelets. if 1 kid has to wear it, EVERYONE should have to. otherwise, what the hell does it have to do with academic performance? then again i am queen of calling/writing letter to schools. threre is also great advice about letter writing from Linda bacon over at

  3. July 13, 2012 10:41 am

    Somehow I missed this topic when it was first publicized in January. After witnessing fat children taken from their parents (multiple times), New Zealand disallowing fat people from immigrating, Mississippi proposing a bill that would ban fat people from going to restaurants, and the Texas hospital that wanted to institute a no-fat-people hiring policy, it is difficult to shock me when it comes to forms of outright discrimination against fat people. This story has left me gobsmacked. I cannot believe they have been doing this. It’s like the creepiest combination of The Scarlet Letter and Big Brother you could possibly imagine. What the bloody fucking hell.

  4. July 13, 2012 10:42 am

    (Also, the news article about this claims the ACLU had something to say about it, but I cannot find any official statement or even quotes from the ACLU on the monitoring bracelets – can someone help me out here with a link or something?)

    • July 13, 2012 11:00 am

      The quote comes from Jay Stanley, spokesman for the ACLU, from this NY Post article. I don’t think they’ve taken any official action on it, though.


  5. July 13, 2012 11:45 am

    I’d tell them that they will definitely face charges from me through one of my lawyer friends and that such an incisive measure into my child-rearing and said child’s rights cannot be enforced without a specific court order. Good luck trying to get one of these against a minor who hasn’t committed an offense against the law, or their (mostly, we all know about those forgotten ones) law-abiding parent/guardian. There might be an official inquiry by social services, but then, I don’t think they would be able to waste human resources on this. Possibility not excluded due to fat phobia, though.

    Next, I would hand back the bracelet with a polite version of “Fuck no, forget it!” as I wouldn’t want to be responsible for destruction of public property. No, I don’t think this is for the benefit of my child. No, I will not participate in this Very Important Intervention or whatever you call it. Bring it on, school. I’ll go out on a limb and just say that I know and will have (pro bono most likely) the better lawyers.

    • July 13, 2012 11:49 am

      EDIT: In this case, I would quite obviously skip the stage of letter-writing. Any such action will result in an immediate appearance of the Angry Mom From Hell (TM) in the principal’s office.
      (still remember the principal of my own school cringing whenever he saw my physically not very imposing Mom stalk through the school because he neglected to punish the bullies again. She’ll be my inspiration!)

    • July 13, 2012 11:54 am

      It seems like the recent healthcare ruling would affect this, since Roberts wrote that the government cannot legislate based on inactivity, right? You can’t coerce people to buy insurance if they aren’t already insured. It would seem to follow that you can’t coerce people to wearing monitoring devices against their will. And what if parents say no? Do they withhold education? Or are they just counting on peer pressure and guilt to get parents to concede?


      • July 13, 2012 1:19 pm

        Exactly! I’ve been living abroad for the past four years now and am not as caught up on new legislation in the States as I should probably be *shameface*…

        Withholding education might be possible in the case of a private school (although they’d definitely have to deal with breach of contract if they unilaterally decide to expel/suspend a student, especially if their new “uniform” isn’t that at all but is only required for a few of their students violating equality rules), but afaik public schools can’t refuse a student who qualifies academically and by living in the school district? I don’t know, I’ve never lived in Long Island and any kids are far off and hypothetical atm. Without a court order they’ll have to rely on the cooperation of the parents since a monitoring device is a limitation of a student’s freedoms, and that will probably work via guilt and/or blindsiding.

        Again, I’m not up-to-date on legislation in Long Island, but that’s what I think would happen.

  6. vesta44 permalink
    July 13, 2012 11:59 am

    I was just telling my husband about these bracelets and his comment? “Pack it in your ass, school, my kids aren’t wearing these.” (Not that we have kids in school now, but you get the idea) And I would be sending the bracelet right back to the school with a note saying that unless every child in the school was wearing one, my child wouldn’t be wearing one. This is an invasion of privacy that no school has a right to make, and the money spent on this program could better be spent on education, or more recess, or putting physical education that’s fun back in school.

  7. Jennifer permalink
    July 13, 2012 1:26 pm

    I would smash it with a rock, and deliver the pieces in person with several choice words about the importance of making it HARDER for pedophiles and other degenerates to access our children, as well as a short remediate lesson in HAES and bullying.

    I would then tell the admin that if they EVER strapped anything to my child ever again, they’d be sued for child abuse, with plenty of media involvement.

    This whole thing horrifies and disgusts me. It’s more ways to eliminate fat people– and if they can’t eliminate us, they want us to live in caves and never participate or be seen in the world. Revolting.

    • Erin S. permalink
      July 13, 2012 9:10 pm

      Was in a chat room associated with a site that had absolutely NOTHING to do with weight, health, or anything even vaguely related to either (was for an online game) and two other players were there happily discussing how in a “perfect” world all the fatties would be forced to live underground where people wouldn’t have to see them.

      I find it somewhat frightening that there really are people who really do want to force other people out of society for any reason. Much less just being “ugly” to someone else.

      • Mulberry permalink
        July 14, 2012 3:39 pm

        I would just tell them we should put the fatties out in the open air and the fat-haters below ground and also get the result that they wouldn’t have to see us. For one thing, there are more fat people and for another we need more space, therefore we should get more room than they do. It’s only fair.

  8. July 13, 2012 2:42 pm

    Actually, I think any program delivered exclusively to the “overweight” and “obese” kids constitutes a violation of their privacy rights under FERPA (kid’s version of HIPAA) – basically a mandatory program would force the identification of those kids’ protected medical information. I am hoping some parents use this legal strategy. Come to think of it, some adults should use it to combat the workplace programs.

  9. fatology101 permalink
    July 13, 2012 3:30 pm

    I would take the damn thing off and smash it with a rock. Just the idea of losing my freedom to do with my kid as I see fit really “chaps my hide”. Words can express how angry I would be. My kids are the type who would break it off themselves, and my grandkids would too.

  10. fatology101 permalink
    July 13, 2012 3:52 pm

    And I might add that if there is health care paid for by tax payers, i.e. government, mark my words, in order to qualify for treatment, we adults will be wearing them as well. This is not ment to be a debate on health care. Just a thought.

    • July 13, 2012 7:00 pm

      Your claim about adults is asinine – Don’t fuck with the licensed attorney on the health care ruling. Suffice it to say, regulating children this way is a violation of their privacy rights and leave it at that.

      • fatology101 permalink
        July 13, 2012 7:54 pm

        Holy smokes, relax. I was saying that this FAT thing is getting out of hand. It was not an assault on heath care. My only concern is how fat people are being treated. I would never have believed something like this could happen in this country or in my lifetime. This has nothing to do with health care ruling. THis is why we have to be diligent in fighting for our rights to be fat. Thats all.

  11. LittleBigGirl permalink
    July 13, 2012 4:40 pm

    The only possible good (in the Bizarro anti-universe) I can think would come from this is if the devices measured the high BMI kids’ vital stats and proved that they were just as healthy as the smaller kids – maybe more so and thus dispelled the “fat-kids-eat-cheese-puffs-while-playing-xbox” bullpucky.

    Can they even prove bigger kids are “unhealthy” or are they just looking at them and shrieking “eewwww a fatty”? I resent mistreatment of fat people on the whole but I want a special room in hell reserved for people who hide behind the rhetoric of health and social consciousness when they’re really being driven by ignorance, social pressure and personal aesthetic bias.

    Despite the mad sickness of the issue and the happening in Long Island, I have to say Atchka that I did I spit take when I read the line about the cat – and all the others. I would love to put one of those monitors on an elephant or hippo from the local zoo and say to the school – “wow here’s a creature that is XXXXXX lbs heavier than little Jonny and it seems to be doing just fine!”

    Also: “to track the heartbeats, movement and sleeping patterns of overweight and obese children” – will the monitor track the heart that breaks from the shame and stigma heaped on it daily, the running away from the taunts of students and teachers alike, or the nightmares and lack of sleep caused by the knowledge that people think you are a fat disgusting freak? We’re not measuring the right things…

  12. LexieDi permalink
    July 13, 2012 6:41 pm

    I’d have to get in someone’s face if some school official tried to put a monitor on my kid. Just the thought enrages me. “None of your fucking business what my kid does. It’s mine.” And I’d have a hard time not smashing the thing on the ground and throwing it across the room.

  13. July 13, 2012 6:56 pm

    First, I would contact the teacher involved and request an alternative assignment.

    Second, I would contact the principal and ask why these were permitted as part of the curriculum at all, citing discrimination, FERPA issues, etc.

    Third, I would contact district administration to determine how much the district spent on these devices.

    Fourth, I would be at my next school board meeting, demanding to know why the district spent $XXXXX dollars on something that has a tenuous connection to the course content at best (on account of if it was truly beneficial, wouldn’t all the kids need to wear them for class?) and that was discriminatory and privacy-violating in practice — particularly at a time when the district was experiencing drastic budget issues. (Because, um. Show me a public school district in the US that is not experiencing drastic budget issues.)

    Our local school board meetings tend to be regularly attended by folks from our local papers, but if that were not the case, I’d also contact local news media outlets.

  14. Theresa permalink
    July 14, 2012 3:08 pm

    Sounds like such a gadget could be classified as a medical device, and since I would never give the school permission to seek medical evaluation or treatment for my child (except in the event of a life-threatening emergency), I would not only take it off him or her but would probably take legal action against the school for practicing medicine on my child without my consent.

  15. The Real Cie permalink
    July 26, 2012 10:53 am

    I love the strapping it to a cat thing. The Beavis and Butthead part of my brain would be tempted to strap it to me, eat a lot of chili, drink beer, then go around ripping ’em all evening. I don’t know if it would affect the monitor particularly, but I always get Beavis and Butthead ideas when I see crap like this.

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