Taking a swipe at potential bullying, the Dallas School Board recently altered the district's dress code to accommodate overweight students.
Reports the Dallas Observer, the board was concerned its policy requiring students tuck in their shirts didn't accomodate children who aren't slim enough to tuck them properly, thus opening them up to ridicule and bullying.
The paper quoted Board President Lew Blackburn, who explained the situation, using the word "healthiness" instead of overweight:
Now, I am always one to say tuck in your shirts, but it was brought to my attention that if you are, uh healthy, tucking in your shirt shows your healthiness. ... For a middle-school student, it could be a self-esteem issue if they are made to tuck in their shirt, because if they wear it loose, their healthiness might not show as much.
DISDBlog, a website that covers the Dallas Independent School District, quoted another board member who seemed to agree with Blackburn and who used the term "fluffy" instead of "healthy." None of the board members seemed comfortable addressing the issue head on; according to NBC local affiliate WOAI, they didn't use the terms "fat" or "obese" in their statements.
Nevertheless, tucked-shirt dress code appears to have been rarely enforced prior to the board's recent decision. In a segment produced by ABC affiliate WFAA, none of the students interviewed about the policy had their shirts tucked in.
Explained one student, Jake Whitten, to the station, "It’s embarrassing for some kids who are heavier-set."
A survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control in 2011 found 16 percent of Texas high school students were obese, making it one of the most overweight in the nation, just behind Alabama, Kentucky, and Oklahoma.
In a 2010 report, The Obesity Action Coalition found 58 percent of overweight high school boys experienced daily bullying as a result of their size, with 63 percent of girls reporting the same.
What do you think? How should the school board have handled this issue? Tell us in the comments.