Mom says son’s school is getting too personal with health screenings

Mom says son's school is getting too personal with health screenings (Image 1)

A Cookeville woman says her son's school is getting a little too personal when it comes to health screenings.

Amber Underwood's son is a kindergartner at Parkview Elementary school in Cookeville.

The school mailed a letter home that listed the boy's Body Mass Index (BMI) in the 97th percentile.

The letter stated, “If a child's BMI for-age exceeds the 85th percentile or falls below the 5th percentile on the BMI-for-Age growth chart, his or her weight may place them at a higher risk for health problems.”

Underwood says the school system is not only getting too personal, but that her son, Hayden, is not unhealthy. Hayden is an active child who plays multiple sports.

“We do take him to the pediatrician,” Undwerwood said. “We've been told that he is healthy.”

An official with Putnam County Schools says the screenings are just a way to improve the health of students.

“Academically, it's hard for children to learn if they're not healthy,” said Melanie Bussell, coordinated school health supervisor for Putnam County Schools. “We're not indicating that you are obese or not obese. It's just a screening. You might want to go talk to your doctor.”

However, Hayden's mom thinks some of those tests are just intrusive.

“Doing the vision and hearing tests is understandable. It relates to their learning,” Underwood said. “I don't feel that the BMI relates to their learning.”

The health screenings are funded by a grant from the state of Tennessee. Parents must sign a permission slip before their children are screened.

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