SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WTVO) – Parents are speaking out against a Mississippi middle school’s suggestion that their daughters should wear slimming undergarments to fight body image issues.
Female students at Southaven Middle School brought home letters this week titled “Why Do Girls Suffer From Body Image?” In the letter, school counselors asked parents’ permission to give their children “healthy literature” on “maintaining a positive body image” before asking to give them “shapewear, bras and other health products.” One parent, Ashley Heun, wrote on Facebook that she is now “beyond pissed.”
“How…are you promoting a positive body image by saying ‘Here, you’re too fat. You need shapewear to make you look thinner'[?]” Heun said in her Facebook post showing the letter.
Heun told CNN that her eighth-grade daughter said the letter was “stupid” and confusing. The bottom of the letter asked parents to mark “yes” or “no” to the suggestion and provide undergarment sizes if applicable.
“I had to reread it a few times,” Heun said to CNN. “My first instinct was to go up to the school and yell at every person I could find.”
Heun later sent an email to the school’s principal saying she was “baffled” that counselors “would actually think that this is a good idea.” They called and met on Jan. 12, during which the principal was “very apologetic,” though he said the counselors had good intentions.
“I don’t think they were trying to send out that message, but bottom line is that’s the message that came across, Heun said.”
The principal also told Heun the initiative has been canceled. Lauren Margeson, assistant to the DeSoto County Schools superintendent, told CNN in a statement that the district was aware of the letters sent out.
“District officials understand how this type of information causes serious concern from parents,” Margeson said.