Fitness assembly featuring shirtless bodybuilders raises parents' ire

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:17 PM

Loretta Park, Standard-Examiner Staff

PDF: Click to read a letter of apology from the school

KAYSVILLE — When the man removed his running gear, exposing his black mid-thigh-length swim trunks, some students thought he was performing in his underwear.

And the uncomfortable situation turned into two uncomfortable situations when the second man on stage removed his shirt and flexed his muscles, demonstrating good muscle tone, said Christopher Williams, spokesman for Davis School District.

A letter was sent home Monday to parents of students at Samuel Morgan Elementary School in Kaysville explaining the intent of Friday’s assembly presented by the school’s PTA to kick off Red and White Ribbon Week. The PTA had brought in two professional athletes, who compete in the National Championship Body Building Competition, for the assembly.

One man showed that with a fit body, a student could be a bicyclist, a runner and a swimmer, Williams said. That man came out on stage in full bicycle gear, including a helmet, and went through the motions of bicycling. He then removed the bicycling clothing on stage to reveal running clothes and went through the motions of running.

When he removed the running clothes to reveal the black swim trunks, some students did not understand the message, Williams said.

Williams said if the man had gone off stage and then came out in a different outfit each time, there might not have been a problem.

“Some kids didn’t get it,” Williams said.

The second man came out on stage, without a shirt and flexed his muscles for the students, Williams said.

The letter was signed by Janette Magley, the school’s PTA president.

She wrote that a second part of the assembly involved a skit with a man named “Rubbish,” who sat in front of the TV all day and ate junk food. The two athletes helped explain that he would feel better and be happy if he took better care of himself.

In it she asks parents to “accept my apology and talk with your children and help them understand the ‘good’ message that we were hoping to send.”

George Womack, who is a parent of a fourth-grader, said, “I understand the intent now, but what bothers me is they (the school) didn’t act, period.”

Womack said the administration could have pushed the pause button anytime and stopped the music when it appeared there may have been a problem.

“We as adults, we get the skit, but we’re talking about 5-, 6-, 8-, and 10-year-olds who are still growing up,” Womack said. “And you don’t know if there is a kid out there who has been sexually abused, and seeing a guy without his shirt on, what does that trigger. It bothers me that no one jumped up and took control.”

Magley wrote in the letter that in future assemblies presented by the PTA, “there will be a stronger set of rules/guidelines to prevent this from happening again.”

Williams said the district has received phone calls from parents who are upset by the assembly and parents who support the assembly.

“I guess it’s all in the eyes of the beholder,” Williams said.

Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or Follow her on Twitter @LorettaParkSE.

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