Bailey Webber, a junior at Springboro High School, was looking for a project to develop her filmmaking skills when she came across an issue she just could not ignore. What started as a summer project developed into a two year endeavor to investigate Fat Letters, notification from a school that state whether a student falls within an acceptable range on the BMI scale.
Bailey met a sixth grader in her district who received one of these Fat Letters. Maddy has human growth hormone deficiency. The hormones she takes every day cause fluctuations in her weight. Maddie received one of these letters and was mortified. In her investigation, Bailey found out that in 2010, the State of Ohio, in response to the “childhood obesity epidemic,” passed a law requiring all schools to measure and report every student’s body mass index (BMI), even students as young as kindergarten. Letters that are sent home to parents reporting their child’s BMI became known as fat letters by the students.
The deeper she looked into the law, the more controversy Bailey found. She interviewed parents who thought the schools were being hard on students who already have difficulties, school board members who felt the State was overstepping its bounds and superintendents who refused to comply. Finally, she questioned legislators who sponsored or disagreed with the bill. Now, it’s time to put all that video footage together into a film.
Bailey is not alone in the project. She is being supported and coached by her father, award winning documentarian Michael Webber. Mike’s previous projects include The Elephant in the Living Room which won the Genesis Award, the London United Film Festival Award and the Burbank Film Festival Award for Best Documentary, among others.
This film has been submitted as a Kickstarter project to help with the production costs. Kickstarter is a crowd fundraising platform that helps creative projects get off the ground. Bailey’s summer project is now going to be a feature length film. The fundraising period is over on Monday, April 28th
at 3 am. To contribute or to learn more, go to Kickstarter.com. There you will find videos that will tell you a little more about the film. If Bailey and Mike are not able to raise all the funds, they get none so kick in a couple bucks.
In Bailey’s words, “I have put my heart and soul into The Student Body and I desperately want to share this revealing journey with others. If this story and cause inspires you as much as it does me, then please consider joining me on the final leg of this journey. Thank you!”
This story was submitted by Bridget Oaks.