Parents Outraged After School Offers Shapewear To Middle School Students Struggling With Body Image

Photo: Inessa Boo / Shutterstock / Facebook
Shapewear

A middle school in Mississippi is facing backlash after offering to give out shapewear to female students in an effort to help them with body image.

Parents received a letter from Southaven Middle School titled, 'Why Do Girls Suffer from Body Image?' which had also been handed out to the girls at the middle school.

The letter talked about how girls are more likely than boys to have a negative body image and the physical and mental benefits to having a positive body image.

Southhaven Middle School then asked parents what size shapewear they would like for their daughters. 

The letter concluded with an offer for the school counselors to provide "shapewear, bras, and other products" to any of the students aged 10 to 14 whose parents agreed to it.

The middle school requested the parent's consent to their daughters receiving the items, asking what size shapewear they would need, ranging from small to XXX-Large.

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"We, the counselors of Southaven Middle School, would like to have an opportunity to offer some healthy literature to your daughter on maintaining a positive body image," part of the letter reads.

The term 'shapewear' refers to undergarments primarily worn by women that can temporarily alter or smooth out the appearnce of a body under clothes.

Parents were understandably outraged by the letter.

Ashley Heun, the mother of a 13-year-old student at the school, told CNN that when she received the letter, "I had to reread it a few times."

Huen revealed her daughter, Caroline, had called the letter "stupid" and didn't really understand the purpose of her school sending it out.

Heun immediately posted the letter on her Facebook to share her outrage and concern, eliciting other parents to chime in with their thoughts, mostly in agreement that the school shouldn't have sent the letter out to begin with.

"So this is what my 8th grade daughter brought home from school today. I am beyond pissed, though I’m not sure if I’m more pissed at the fact that they had the “balls” to send this home or the VERY IGNORANCE of the “counselors” at the school," Heun wrote in her post.

Heun also reached out to the middle school to which the principal issued an apology, telling her they had cancelled the program.

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“The district has been made aware of the parental permission form sent to parents by Southaven Middle School,” Lauren Margeson, the DeSoto County Schools’ assistant to the superintendent, told NBC's 'Today' show.

“District officials understand how this type of information causes serious concern from parents."

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The Southaven principal, John Sartain, told Heun that the school had received a donation of bras, underwear, and shapewear and had implemented the program to distribute them to anyone who needed them.

"While I know they had good intentions, it was just very ill conceived," Heun told CNN. "And I appreciate the fact that they want to help, because there are girls out there who don't have access to bras or other essential items, for whatever reason."

"It's amazing that the school would be in a position to help girls out who needed that," the mother continued.

"But just sending a letter out to all the girls in the school saying 'body image is a problem,' offering to give them shapewear? That basically says 'we know that you don't have a perfect body, so here is something to help you alter your appearance.'"

Heun also revealed that this experience has made her more inclined to "advocate for any girls who feels 'less than' because of her body size."

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.