Dr. Stuart Twemlow, whose work was previously discussed by Childhood Obesity News, is proprietor of the “Back Off Bully” website, a tremendous resource comprising several divisions including published papers, parenting tips, videos, school materials, services, and music. Another section concerns the Peaceful Schools Project (active 1999-2002), a joint creation of the Menninger Clinic and the Baylor College of Medicine. It contains the manuals used in the project, titled “Creating a Peaceful School Learning Environment” and “School Psychiatric Consultation Manual.”
Of course the problem with school bullying, whether done by fellow students or by teachers, is that kids suffer bad consequences. The negative effect on academic performance, through the association of higher weight and lower achievement, has been documented.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas set out to examine these relationships, and concluded:
Psychosocial variables, such as weight-based teasing, should be considered in future research examining the impact of childhood obesity on school performance and in future intervention studies.
As recently as four years ago, even after years of attempted consciousness-raising, weight-related bullying and discrimination by teachers and professors were reported to be increasing. Unlike previous investigations that only covered specific points time, a longitudinal study by the Harvard School of Public Health followed children through years of education. Journalist Angela Meadows wrote,
This particular study looked at how weight change between the ages of ten and 14 affected teacher ratings of the children’s abilities, taking a range of other factors like socioeconomic status, family situation, exercise and television time, and so on, into account.
Although this study didn’t assess the actual anti-fat attitudes of the teachers — meaning it’s not possible to link the two directly — numerous other studies have now reported negative weight-related stereotypes and anti-fat attitudes being held by teachers at every stage of the school system, from kindergarten upwards.
There is widespread conviction that when overweight kids underperform academically, anti-fat attitudes held by teachers definitely play a role.
Since this didn’t fit anywhere else, let’s include it here — a comment on Reddit’s fatlogic page, from an individual with the code name “iushciuweiush”:
Ugh I used to be a ride operator at an amusement park and was called all kinds of nasty things by fat people when I told them they were too big to ride. Hey, _______, I am putting my entire body weight into the restraint and it will not click which means it’s not restraining you which means you cannot ride. I’m literally saving your life and you are bullying the ____ out of me for it as if I personally designed this stupid ride and these stupid restraints out of some evil desire to punish fat people.
Last call for Halloween
Longtime followers of this page will recognize the picture at the top, which first appeared attached to “My Halloween, by Curly: a Suggestive Fiction,” a story reminding us that we can create new customs and a new culture to fit our needs.
Also, as long as there is still time for any late bloomers to do holiday prep, please take advantage of our tremendous catalogue of posts bursting with Halloween hints!
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Back Off Bully,” BackOffBully.com, undated
Source: “Overweight children, weight-based teasing and academic performance,” NIH.gov, 2009
Source: “Obese children do worse at school—but it may not be their fault,” QZ.com, 06/04/15
Image by Steven Depolo/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)