Denver Public Schools recently got itself into some hot water by sending a sealed letter home with a student informing the student's mother that the student was overweight. Of course, the child opened it and supposedly became distressed - perhaps she wasn't aware she had a weight problem?
I've seen comments on some blogs asking why in the world Denver Public Schools thinks they can engage in this sort of personal life interference. I'm guessing some of the same people who are up in arms over this are also up in arms in favor of the proposed expansion of the S-CHIP program.
70.7% of Centennial K-8's students were eligible (PDF warning) for free or reduced lunches in the 2005-2006 school year. To be eligible for free or reduced lunches, a student's family must be at or below 130% of poverty level. To qualify for the state CBHP health plan (PDF warning again), the student must be at or below 200% of poverty level.
What this means is that well over 70% of the students in Centennial K-8 qualify for state-funded health care.
With the government providing lunches and health insurance to a large portion of these kids, is it any wonder that the government feels a well-meaning obligation to do what they can to reduce those insurance costs?
Years ago, I did volunteer work at an HIV-testing clinic that also provided services to disabled people who needed mental health, physical health or housing services. My work there was a big part of what turned me from a bleeding heart into a conservative - seeing people use food stamps to buy pork rinds and candy bars and then asking for more more more because their food stamps were gone by was disenheartening. Even more disenheartening was taking a poor mom who had no food for her kids grocery shopping a few years ago and having her get mad and yelling at me in the grocery store because I wasn't willing to add twelve-packs of soda to the grocery bill.
I understand that there are many families out there who use their state and federal provided funds as wisely as they can. But parents who don't spoil it for everyone and make the government act as a nanny state to reduce the poor use of government funds. If we keep expanding government-funded health care, don't be surprised if we start seeing more and more cases where Big Brother is telling us how to raise our kids.