— In 1999, Scott McNealy, the chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems, said that privacy issues were “a red herring” and then stated “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” Wikipedia citation
… NYS state apparently has a similar opinion on privacy.
In 2002 the CDC released a report depicting an increase in child obesity. It was suggested that data be collected measuring the body mass index of children.
According to the CDC, the following guidelines are key to any student BMI measurement:
To reduce the risk of harming students, BMI measurement programs should adhere to the following safeguards:
- introduce the program to school staff and community members and obtain parental consent,
- train staff in administering the program (ideally, implementation will be led by a highly qualified staff member, such as the school nurse),
- establish safeguards to protect student privacy,
- obtain and use accurate equipment,
- accurately calculate and interpret the data,
- develop efficient data collection procedures,
- avoid using BMI results to evaluate student or teacher performance, and
- regularly evaluate the program and its intended outcomes and unintended consequences.
At the time, various “education” money was dangled in front of states and non profits. Arkansas was first to take the bait. In 2004, they made it mandatory against parental concerns and the CDC suggestion that parental permission should be required. Four years later they published the findings which suggested significant issues according to this website .
Meanwhile in NY, The Student Weight Status Category Reporting System was established with amendments to New York State Education Law in 2007. The new law mandated districts and doctors include the BMI information on the required health certificate for school admission. Neither the school or your doctor was/is required to inform you of the measurement.
NYS took the information and created the 2008-2010 student_weight_status_category_report. On the report, they identify 3 reasons for probable inaccurate numbers:
Student Weight Status Category Reporting System during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years. For the reasons listed below, these data should not be considered to represent all school aged-children in New York State (exclusive of New York City).
- The federal regulations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) limit data reporting if numbers of students in any particular weight status category are fewer than five. This limitation prevented many small districts and some schools from reporting data.
- Parents/guardians may request that their child’s weight status data be excluded from reporting.
- Children without weight status information recorded on health certificates/appraisals or whose parents did not return a health appraisal are not represented in the percentages.
If you were in NY during 2009, you may recall various news reports alerting people to BMI data collection . Parents were interviewed in print and TV news. Most people made it very clear they were against the idea. Meanwhile districts began sending out permission slips to share BMI data with the state. I recall the permission slip as saying that no identifying information would be divulged and the entire process was voluntary. Needless to say I didn’t sign it. Thereafter, news on this topic went silent and no further notices were sent out by the district. Keep in mind, they not required to alert you as per the new laws.
As is typical with most government ideas with money attached (1.3 billion allotted in the stimulus act), a whole host of characters and social justice peddlers began publishing studies, articles and claims in support of over-riding your right to privacy. Some of these reports clearly depict unelected government officials in full support and parents in serious opposition. Below is a graphic contained in a report from Elena Conis. “Mandating Body Mass Index Reporting in the Schools”. Health Policy Monitor, April 2010. Available at http://www.hpm.org/survey/us/a15/2
Bottom line, it was/is well known by officials that parents want no part in providing their children’s BMI. NYS went ahead and wrote the law to provide it with or without their knowledge. As with any progressive policy, there is always punishment for those who aren’t up to policy snuff. In 2006, a Pennsylvania Black college decided if your BMI wasn’t acceptable, you would need to take courses in walking in order to receive your diploma. There is no evidence that your ability to achieve a college degree has anything to do with your BMI number. NYS state has yet to implement “punishment” or in the words of progressives “incentives” like this.
One more item to add which makes this entire post irrelevant. There is now no escape from every American citizen having their BMI being reported… “On July 14, 2010 HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued new regulations yesterday for federal mandated electronic health records that say the records must include an obesity rating for every American.” – See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obesity-rating-every-american-must-be-included-stimulus-mandated-electronic-health .
The only progressive thing left to do is issue “incentives” to you via federal mandate or decree.