A woman in Fargo, ND called in to a local radio station to tell of her plan to hand out notes, instead of candy, to children she considers “moderately obese” this Halloween. The woman, who says her name is Cheryl and claims to be a mother herself, printed off the notes and plans to hand them out to overweight trick-or-treaters who come to her door.
Many of Cheryl’s neighbors in the communities addressed in her letter considered this a method of publicly shaming children and think the woman has stepped over a line. Her letter is addressed to the parents of the children in question:
Happy Halloween and Happy Holidays Neighbor!
You are probably wondering why your child has this note; have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? I am disappointed in “the vilage” of Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo.
You child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.
My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.
On the call Cheryl said, “I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight… I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it.”
A North Dakota State University psychology professor disagrees with Cheryl’s methods. Dr. Katie Gordon says that this sort of public shaming could hurt more than it helps.
“It’s just that type of thing that, for some kids if they’re vulnerable, might trigger major problems,” says Gordon.