Charley Cacdac, a first grader at Palm Beach Gardens Elementary School in Palm Beach, Florida, came home with a note in her backpack on Feb. 5 that infuriated her mother.
The note from the school’s nurse explained Charley’s height and weight had been measured at school and her body mass index was high. ”From the results of this test, it is suggested that your child's health be examined by a physician, particularly as it relates to the problem suggested by the screening. A problem such as this that goes uncorrected or untreated can severely affect both the health and academic performance of your child,” the note read.
"Her first question to me was 'do they think I'm fat? Is there something wrong with me’,” Laura Cacdac told WPTV. "It is basically in my opinion telling me I am harming my child and doing wrong by her and then telling me how to properly feed my child," she said.
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The school nurse told Laura that Charley was overweight according to state standards, but Charley’s doctor hasn’t raised any concerns.
"My child's favorite foods are avocados, broccoli and apples...she is perfectly healthy in every way: emotionally, physically, and academically,” Laura said.
She’s worried that the height and weight screenings could harm students’ body image. “Something like this can stick with her for the rest of her life. It is going to stick in her head... am I fat? Do they think I'm fat?,” Laura said.
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Dr. Andrew Reiss, a pediatrician from Boca Raton, Florida, believes the notices are good for families. "I think it helps families focus on healthy habits," he said. "Sometimes we tell people don't worry everything is fine, but sometimes there is something that can be done better and we involve kids in that discussion.”
The Palm Beach County School District said the letters are sent home in sealed envelopes. Laura has opted Charley out of all future health screenings.