CCR-1 Student Council Addresses School Board About Screening Test Concerns

By Mike Scott

Several members of the Clark County R-1 High School student council attended Thursday’s CCR-1 school board meeting to express their concerns about the recent health screening, which included a measurement of each student Body Mass Index (BMI) which helps identify students who may be overweight.  The screening was part of the school’s Wellness Policy, which was discussed and approved last spring. The results of the screenings were mailed home to parents .
“This is just a screening tool that we used, because some parents may not be paying attention.  We hope this might start a dialog between the child and parent, and if necessary, they can visit a doctor,” explained board member Dr. Matt Cormier.  “The increased risk of diabetes is a big problem for children.
The students were concerned about the accuracy of the scale, and the height measurement, both of which factor into the BMI index.  Concerns were presented by Chloe Bertschi, Audrey Moon, Cylee Gutting and Cady Flood.
“If it’s off just a few pounds, that’s almost immaterial,” explained Cormier.  “It would take 20-30 pounds to make much difference on the scale.”
Following the screenings, which were conducted by the school nurses, the students conducted a survey, and received 267 responses.
Sixty percent of students felt that the BMI screening was not accurate, 58% would not have participated if it were voluntary, and 71% felt it was not necessary.
“Was there an event the made you decide to do this?” asked senior Chloe Bertschi.
“The state required schools to come up with a wellness policy.  Our wellness committee met and discusses several thing, including this and healthier snacks in the vending machines,” answered Superintendent Ritchie Kracht.
Some student comments were:
“Health info is between me and my doctor”
“I didn’t mind doing the test”
“Offended…hurt feelings…upset…depressed”
“It seems out of place to get upset because only they, themselves, are the reason they are above BMI standards”
“If the students had been informed of the reasons behind it, they wouldn’t have thrown such a fit.”
The screenings will continue in the future, although the board will ensure a letter is sent home in advance.  The wellness committee, which has student representatives, will make a recommendation was to whether it is voluntary or mandatory.
The board also discussed the issue of school bus seating.  Concerns had been brought to the board about the higher seats on buses making it more difficult to chaperone.  Currently, students on bus routes have assigned seats, and on sports trips, coaches separate the team.  Only on band and field trips are students allowed to sit where they want.
One item under consideration was to separate students by gender, especially at the middle and high school levels.
Problems to such a policy include buses running at near capacity, and concerns that bullying would be more likely.
“I’m totally against a policy.  I think it’s ridiculous,” said board member Kristy Lovell.
After discussion, the board took no action, leaving the current policy in place.
In other business, the board:
–Heard the transportation report from Ritchie Kracht.  The busses currently run 1022 miles per day, carrying 622 students.  Concerns include high fuel prices, substitute driver pay, and and keeping the fleet current.
–Megan Wendling presented the guidance department report, listing their strengths was working with well with outside social service agencies, having a comprehensive guidance plan, classroom visits and the longevity of the guidance staff.
–Kracht presented good news about the boiler systems and the Middle School and elementary schools.  The Middle School boiler was finished last week, and Running Fox and Black Hawk are nearing completion.  All should be inspected and operational in the near future.
–The electrical system upgrade at Running Fox is complete, and the Black Hawk upgrade is nearly complete.
–Approved changing the start time at the high school to 8:25 AM, starting October 22. because they are behind in necessary hours due to early dismissals.
–Approved hiring a 1/2 time special education aide for Running Fox.
–Discussed a change in MSSHAA  rules which will require high school students to pass seven out of eight classes in order to be eligible to participate MSSHAA activities.