Commentary
Sen. Bisbee should get over it

Karon Parrish
Editor-in-chief  

   Just a few years ago I wrote my representatives, senators and Gov. Mike Huckabee venting my outrage over the fact they wanted our public schools to weigh and measure a child’s body mass index then report this on the child’s report card.

   I felt that telling a child they had a high BMI was right up there with “Ohhhh, you are fat!”  I still feel the same today.  However, while reading an article by Doug Thompson in the Arkansas News Bureau reporting on the Senate passing a bill, I was once again shaking my head at the way our government wants to make our school system do the work of everyone else. The bill will mandate vision screening tests results be sent to the state Department of Education.

   Children have been receiving vision screening testing since I was a child, so why the issue of sending the results to the Department of Education?  This is just one more issue that the government wants to push onto the education system.  “OK, not sure where to send information? Well, just let the state Department of Education handle it.”

   Sen. Jimmy Jeffress, D-Crossett, hit the nail on the head when he said, “I don’t think there’s a teacher in this state who can’t recognize a student with a vision problem. It seems like the solution to everything is to refer it to the Department of Education.”

   Our schools have enough to deal with without having to monitor reports that monitor parent’s response to vision testing! 

    Sen. David Bisbee, R-Rogers was quoted in a recent interview with the Arkansas News Bureau, “All we did was tell parents their children were fat, and I almost got lynched.”

   My comments also ended up in an article in the Wall Street Journal and House Speaker Herschel Cleveland and I debated this for about 15 seconds on CNN’s “The Bell.”  We were preempted by the identification of “The Worm” computer virus creator so our issue was sent to the back burner. But Cleveland and I were able to talk so that he understood my stand on reporting the results on a report card. He was able to voice his opinion to the creators of this bill to amend it and the child’s BMI result would be voluntary to participate in and no results would be posted on report cards.

   No, Sen. Bisbee you didn’t “almost” get lynched. As part of my constitutional rights and an advocate for leaving the education to the school system and parenting to parents, I simply told you how I felt so my advice now is get over it!

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The Voice, 2005
Revised 050311 — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_16/commentary.htm