One mother is sounding the alarm after her daughter brought home a letter on “body image” from Southaven Middle School, that offered to provide female students with “shapewear.”
The letter, titled “Why Do Girls Suffer from Body Image?” reportedly targeted seventh- and eighth-grade girls. It detailed the impact of body image issues on young girls.
“Girls with a positive body image are more likely to have good physical and mental health,” it reads. “Girls with negative thoughts and feelings about their bodies are more likely to develop certain mental health conditions, such as eating disorders and depression.”
It didn’t stop there. Near the end of the document, it offered ways to “help our girls develop a healthier body image.” One of the suggested ways was for the school to offer “shapewear, bras, and other health products.”
“We, the counselors of Southaven Middle School, would like to have an opportunity to offer some healthy literature for your daughter on maintaining a positive body image,” it concludes. “We are also providing girls with shapewear, bras, and other health products if applicable.”
At the bottom of the letter was a parental permission slip, which was required to be signed in order for you student to have access to the aforementioned products. If ‘yes’ was marked, parents were asked to provide bra and shapewear sizes.
Ashley Heun spoke with Fox News Digital about the “highly inappropriate” letter, specifically taking issue with the suggestion that offering girls shapewear will help ease body image issues.
“The beginning part was spot on,” she wrote in an email. “We do need to be concerned about the effect a negative body image can have on mental health, especially in this particular age group.”
“I am all for offering literature, bras, underwear, etc. to girls, but shapewear should have never been in the conversation,” she continued. “It is highly inappropriate for that age group for many reasons both physically and emotionally.”
Heun explained that when she received the letter, she posted a photo of it on Facebook to warn other parents that their children may have been offered something similar.
“I wanted other parents in our community to know what was sent out, how bad the message was, and in hopes of having other parents express their outrage to the school,” she said. “The message that comes across is ‘we understand how hard it is to attain the ideal body. It’s not possible, so here is some shapewear to make you look better.’”
Heun also alerted her daughter’s principal and to express her displeasure with the “message it was sending.” The following day, the principal invited her to discuss the program, admitting that he agreed with “a lot” of what she outlined in her email.
Ultimately, the school decided to cancel the program.
“[The principal] said that the counselors had the best of intentions when sending the letter out, but that they had decided to cancel the program,” she revealed.
“The district has been made aware of the parental permission form sent to parents by Southaven Middle School,” executive administrative assistant to the De Soto County School District superintendent Lauren Margeson in a statement to Fox. “District officials understand how this type of information causes serious concern from parents. The principal at Southaven Middle School has met with the parent, and the school has discontinued the implementation of the program.”
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