Sanctioned Peeping. What the…?

The world of Twitter has provided endless fodder and seed ideas for blog posts. This week, it was an article posted by @EAGnews about a Buffalo NY mom  who is outraged that her daughter was subjected to an (attempted) Tanner Screening by a high school nurse. Apparently, the girl was trying out for high school sports teams, and as a part of the process of qualifying, she was required to undergo a physical exam by the nurse. This particular school still uses the Tanner Screening method to decide if a pupil is able to participate in contact sport.

The Tanner Screening? you say. “What is the Tanner Screening?”

Glad you asked.

Essentially, the Tanner Screening is an exam where the child in question is required to expose his/her genitals to the gaze of a strange adult for the purposes of determining sexual development.


You read that right.

A strange adult is permitted by school boards all over the US to ask children to expose their private parts to see how sexually developed they are …because the child in question wishes to participate in sports.

In this day and age of enlightenment regarding pedophiles, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, efficient and effective fitness evaluations, and litigation-happy individuals, schools are still requesting that students drop their drawers?

The mind boggles.

A mere second’s worth of Googling finds this published research article from 1985!! clearly stating that the Tanner Screening ⎼if required⎼ can be done just as accurately by self-report. No need for any adult to embarrass, humiliate, or otherwise discomfit an adolescent in the name of sports.

[Apparently, complete physical exams are done yearly in US schools for every child… when did the government take away the responsibility of the parents to make these decisions? Just Google the topic. There’s questions from 13 year old Middle School girls wondering if they’ll have to have a pelvic exam (!) and afraid of a process about which they apparently have no choice, which is done out of the presence and control of their parents, and may or may not follow “suggested guidelines.”  I’d better stop. That’s a whole other post.]

My point is this. There are many other ways to determine if a student’s musculature and bone structure is sufficiently developed to participate in contact sports. Forcing them to expose their genitals for any reason is at best misguided and unnecessary, and at worst, a psychological humiliation of a developing adolescent by someone who may be having a really good time just “doing his/her job.”


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