WASHINGTON – Despite a strong anti-bullying movement in schools over the past decade, a handful of lawmakers have introduced a bill that would actually lift restrictions on bullies in an attempt to curb the child obesity epidemic.
After the House Appropriations Committee passed a $21 billion budget bill that would allow schools to opt out of the nutritional guidelines passed in 2012, a move that many say will undo much of the progress towards combating child obesity, lawmakers have banded together in a bipartisan coalition to present a new bill that will enable bullies to steal money from obese students with impunity.
“The government can’t be trusted to make sensible decisions in regards to school nutrition,” says Rick Farber, a Democratic representative from California. “When I was in school, there were very few fat kids. And, by my count as an especially astute pupil at the time, there were a lot of bullies. I think there is a correlation.”
“We live in an age where being fat and unsightly is excused because nearly 70 percent of our nation’s adults are overweight,” said Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest. “When I was growing up, being obese was a shameful thing, and fat children were ridiculed.”
Lawmakers in support of the “Fat Shaming” bill are quick to point out that they don’t support unfettered bullying, but rather a measured approach where only fat children would be permitted as bullying targets.
“Kids with glasses, nerds, spazzes and all other subgroups would be exempt from bullying, so long as they don’tfall above 25 on the BMI scale. Once they are deemed overweight, however, they would be open to ridicule by their classmates until they take an interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” explained Representative Farber.
Proponents of the bill say that it would promote “natural selection” in schools, arguing that with proper checks, bullies could fit within the “environmental order” of schools, providing a positive impact that would outweigh the negative repercussions of bullying.
Not everyone is a fan of the proposed bullying legislation. Members of the School Nutrition Association, a group comprised of nutritionists receiving funds from the same food companies that opposed the original tightening of school nutrition guidelines back in 2012, claim that the new Fat Shaming bill would undo Congress’s undoing of “the healthification of America’s students,” already in progress. They also claim that it will cause more children to have a negative image of their own bodies.
Representative Farber doesn’t share this opinion, calling members of the School Nutrition Association “lackeys” for purveying processed and unhealthy foods.
“The bottom line is that once all these fat bastards inevitably start having serious health problems from their poor health decisions, the taxpayers are going to pay the price. Positive body image is all well and good, but I’d rather have a few sad children than a nation full of fat ones.”