January 18, 2012
New York Post
By Mary Kay Linge
Big Brother is joining the battle of the bulge.
A group of Long Island students will soon be wearing controversial electronic monitors that allow school officials to track their physical activity around the clock.
The athletics chair for the Bay Shore schools ordered 10 Polar Active monitors, at $90 a pop, for use starting this spring. The wristwatchlike devices count heartbeats, detect motion and even track students’ sleeping habits in a bid to combat obesity.
The information is displayed on a color-coded screen and gets transmitted to a password-protected Web site that students and educators can access.
The devices are already in use in school districts in St. Louis and South Orange, NJ — and have raised privacy concerns among some parents and observers.
But Ted Nagengast, the Bay Shore athletics chair, said, “It’s a great reinforcement in fighting the obesity epidemic. It tells kids, in real time, ‘Am I active? Am I not active?’ We want to give kids the opportunity to become active.”
The monitors are distributed by Polar Electro, of Lake Success, LI, the US division of a Finland firm.
In the South Orange-Maplewood School District, where earlier versions of the devices have been used for two years, upper-grade students’ marks in phys ed are based in part on heart-rate monitors and activity sensors.
Teachers use hand-held computers to collect data from each student’s wrist monitor during class, then upload the information to the school computer system for storage and long-term tracking.
But privacy advocates and parents worry that schools are using electronic monitors in phys ed without families’ knowledge or consent.
Last winter was one of the worst winters I have ever experienced. A lot of things happened at one time and it was very overwhelming for me. My dog died, I got laid off from my job, I had family issues, self esteem issues, health issues, financial issues and it seemed like I was getting nowhere in life. I would spend my days going to the Wendy’s down the street from me and eat myself numb. I would have bags of candy throughout the day and watch House for hours. After a while, my friends noticed that I had gained quite a bit of weight and that I became a little “slow,” with my thinking process, in other more blatant words, that I was getting more stupid. Back then I weighed 230 pounds and I could not construct a proper sentence because of all the TV I was watching.
Today, I am a healthy 212 (I am currently on the McCombs Plan, it is my 7th week) and I expect it to go down even further. My relationship with my step-mom, who I once hated, is now flourishing. I have the greatest friends, who support me and grow with me, and SO much more.
But all that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is the way I feel and my outlook on life, and the person I am becoming. I am in the same predicament I was last winter, but not really! This time I am a different person and I’m constantly getting better. I do not have any money right now and I am still unemployed, but you know what, life to me is bigger than that and I FEEL fantastic and I know BIG things are in store for me.
I am enrolled in the lazy man’s way to a fortune program; I have no idea how I’m going to find the money, BUT I WILL GET THE MONEY. I go through the day sometimes getting very emotional at all the beauty and good around me. I feel so lucky to be alive! There is so much I can share with you, but it would honestly take 50 pages to write about it!
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Your radio show woke me up. And I KNOW it is going to be waking up a lot more people around the world. Kevin, I thank you, my family thanks you, my friends thank you, and planet earth thanks you. You are truly one of the only people who dare expose what really is going on in this country, and most importantly, making it better, by empowering people and stirring things up.
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One of your biggest supporters,
South Orange, NJ