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Heart Monitors In Middle School Gym Class?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the please-don't-sue-me dept.

Education 950

An anonymous reader writes "My son brought home an order form from his middle school. Apparently the 7th (his grade) and 8th graders are being asked (required?) to purchase their own straps for the heart monitors they're to wear during gym class. I know nothing yet of the device in question, but have left a voice-mail with the assistant principal asking him to call me so I may ask some questions about the program and the device. My tinfoil-hat concern is that the heart rate data will be tied to each child, then archived and eventually used for/against them down the road when applying for insurance, high-stress jobs, etc. 'I see you had arrhythmia during 7th grade pickle ball? No insurance for you' Has anyone heard of such a program, or had their child(ren) take part in it? Does the device transmit to the laptop the overweight gym teacher will be watching instead of running laps with the kids? Perhaps data is downloaded from the device after the class? Or am I just being paranoid? Thanks for any insight."

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It's quite obvious (1)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431475)

This is the prequel to The Matrix. Hunker down fellow humans.

Just duct tape the monitoring equipment in place. No need for fancy straps.

Holy shit? (5, Insightful)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431483)

Are people really this paranoid?

Re:Holy shit? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431527)

Whatever happened to permission slips? Kids run and play. There are inherent risks in allowing them to run and play, but the damage done by not letting them run and play is even greater.

Re:Holy shit? (4, Interesting)

Steve Franklin (142698) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431533)

Clearly the school is afraid of being sued when some kid keels over from too much exertion.

Re:Holy shit? (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431693)

I'm betting it's not even that and it's just a heart rate monitor to improve the quality of aerobic exercise. Sounds like a pretty good program to me; if kids are going to not do physical activities willingly and do the bare minimum in gym class, monitoring heart rate might be a necessary evil to ensure they get enough exercise.

Re:Holy shit? (5, Informative)

guyfawkes-11-5 (1583613) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431963)

I'm betting it's not even that and it's just a heart rate monitor to improve the quality of aerobic exercise. Sounds like a pretty good program to me; if kids are going to not do physical activities willingly and do the bare minimum in gym class, monitoring heart rate might be a necessary evil to ensure they get enough exercise.

I use a HRM all the time while running or biking. Its a good way to give you feedback on your exertion level, and will allow the kids to learn more about max heart rate, threshold level etc. I would want my own band also, rather than some sopping wet band from the previous gym class. Unless they spring for the higher end moniors, the data is not downloadable and is not in any fashion similar to an EKG that would be able to determine an arrythmia.

Re:Holy shit? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431813)

Sued, yes. But more likely because the kid died from a previously undetected heart defect like the thickening of a heart wall. At the national level here in the USA, two or three kids in Middle or High Schools die every year from this cause, often while participating in organized sports. I see an article in the paper every so often.

Re:Holy ? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431613)

More like ignorant! They'd get their asses sued off in a second if they sold children's personal information to outside companies. Everyone knows that (except ignorant, paranoid people apparently)

Re:Holy ? (0)

Imrik (148191) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431707)

If they sold it, yes, but what if they gave it to the local doctors to be included in their medical file?

Re:Holy ? (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431789)

How does the school know the name of the kid's doctor? I have never seen that question on an emergency contact form.

Re:Holy ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431955)

I'm pretty sure it was on mine when I was a kid.

Re:Holy ? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431911)

Part of Obama's health care reform plan is to make it illegal for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition. Unbelievable that it's currently legal

So unless employers start asking for employees' complete medical history, the submitter's fears would be baseless

Re:Holy ? (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431751)

They'd only get their asses sued for that if anyone finds out. But yeah, the guy's paranoid.

Re:Holy shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431689)

Any time anyone wants some form of information from you (or in this case your child), you should ask yourself: is it required for the goal they are trying to achieve and what are the worst possible consequences of releasing this information. This is the world we live in. Welcome. That's not to say that two seconds after you asked yourself this particular question you should immediately forget it, but still!

Re:Holy shit? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431727)

That depends, have you been paying attention to all the Orwellian crap going on in various societies these days? The line between paranoia and skepticism, after all, is really just a matter of perspective unique to an individiual...

(Though for the record I must say, I would be surprised if an insurance company would spend the time and money digging up a kid's elementary school health records).

Re:Holy shit? (5, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431843)

Private health insurance does that to a person. The system in the US is screwed up beyond all repair. For instance, if a company finds out that you or anyone in your immediate family has any medical problems that ends up being a HUGE strike against you. Legally they cannot ask such questions, but they have ways of finding out(from illegal but common searches to just seeing if you have any obvious health issues when you show up to the interview).

US health insurance is KILLING US competitiveness abroad(not to mention the insanely top-heavy structure of US businesses, but thats another conversation). The sheer amount of cost(both for the insurance and the staff to administer it) about nullifies the cost advantages US workers have over European workers(who have higher taxes associated with them, but no health insurance), and makes Canadian workers look extremely attractive(health insurance is covered, but unlike Europeans they can actually be fired without spending massive amounts of time and money filling out pointless paperwork to get rid of a paperweight).

You've just not experienced it (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431863)

Have you ever been rejected for family medical coverage because your child had a urinary infection once, and a test to make sure it wasn't serious? I have.

Re:Holy shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431887)

This is what happens when you neglect basic educational standards for a generation then they have kids.

Re:Holy shit? (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431967)

When it comes to protecting privacy, you can never be too careful with your kids. If we're telling our kids to be careful what they share on MySpace, shouldn't we be holding everyone to the same standard, including the schools? I can't imagine one compelling need for this data.

I quit giving blood several years ago because they started DNA testing and only offered "opt out" rather than "opt in". For all the assurance that the blood bank people gave me about keeping private data private, I know that all it takes is one court order and suddenly your very private DNA profile is shared with someone that wasn't intended to receive it.

Invest in a tinfoil hat for yourself (1, Flamebait)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431495)

Better see a therapist, too.

Re:Invest in a tinfoil hat for yourself (4, Funny)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431729)

And homeschool. Unless you know about the government mind control devices implanted in all books. No-schooling is the safest. What the kids don't know can't hurt them. Plus with all their free time they can start digging and pouring cement to prepare for the invasion of the mole-men.

Paranoid (4, Insightful)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431499)

They're probably just going to monitor heart rate to optimize aerobic exercise. At a certain point if your heart is beating too fast you'll end up in anaerobic mode.
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4736 [americanheart.org]

Re:Paranoid (3, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431605)

I would be surprised to find its to optimize the heart rate. I'll lean more towards making sure these 12 year old tubs of lard don't keel over from a heart attack during gym class and the parents sue the school.

Re:Paranoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431825)

What with the recent football death, I was leaning towards this explanation.

Re:Paranoid (4, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431643)

Paranoia, yes, but on who's part?

Surely the school didn't purchase a bunch of new heart monitors because it might improve the calorie-burning of their students. Most likely what happened was that some kid presented with a previously-undetected heart defect and the school got sued. Now they're instating this to make sure that if someone else comes in with a funky rhythm, they can be taken to the hospital or allowed to rest as needed.

On an even more paranoid note, wouldn't the presence of these heart monitors open them up for these lawsuits to begin with? "Well, Johnny was WEARING a heart monitor when his heart stopped! The doctors said that there was probably some kind of variation in the heart's rhythm, and the school didn't detect OR treat it until it was too late! They LET our child die!"

Re:Paranoid (4, Informative)

dreamt (14798) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431767)

If only this is what a capability of the heart rate, it could make sense. You are thinking something like an EKG/EEG. A heart rate monitor that they are most likely referring to would be something like one sold by http://www.polarusa.com/us-en/ [polarusa.com] where the basic model just tells you your current heart rate. Nothing about detecting rhythm, etc. Its just how many beats/minute your heart is pumping.

Re:Paranoid (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431909)

Surely the school didn't purchase a bunch of new heart monitors because it might improve the calorie-burning of their students.

Why not? The school probably already spends tens of thousands on gym equipment, and tens of thousands more on volountary after school sports. What's a hundred simple heart rate monitors at a bulk rate? A few hundred bucks for something that has been shown to improve the quality of excersise should be a no brainer.

Re:Paranoid (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431647)

Back in the olden days, we used to monitor our pulses in gym class using a finger and a clock. No, there's nothing suspicious about this, and anyone who used common equipment in gym should understand the benefit of buying your own strap instead of digging through a box to find the least sweaty one from the period before.

Re:Paranoid (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431841)

We had these in junior high and high school. Anyone can tell you the last thing you see on "cardio day" is students actually working up a sweat. By putting a grade on getting your heart rate in the "zone" for 20 minutes (145-185 bpm I think), they can get students active on a more objective manner than the students only jogging when the teacher is looking. They had you delete the data when you finish so the next student couldn't use the pre-recorded 20-minute workout for credit. The only time my heart rate monitor data was uploaded to a computer was for cross country- never for gym class.

Relevant note: I went to school in Illinois, where gym class is required through high school, so policy and practice may vary from other states.

Re:Paranoid (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431861)

I'll go with "paranoid", too, and maybe a little bit of lawsuit prevention to boot.

After all, if the monitor system alerts the kid when his/her heartrate exceeds optimum for his/her age, there's less of a chance of some silent heart issue killing Little Johnny or Jane at school. Which is not to say that a system like this eliminates such risks, but it will certainly tend to reduce them, and give the school the lawyer-friendly "we did everything we feasibly could to detect and prevent any problems".

After all, if you are managing a gym class of 40 kids, it's hard to notice that the kid who isn't keeping up is around the last bend, gasping and wheezing and turning really pretty shades of blue and purple. An alert system like this would at least tell the gym teacher that it's time to stop pushing the kid so hard and manage his exercise to his abilities, and not to a class average.

I doubt the monitors they have would be sophisticated enough to store the data, they are probably a "beep fast if the kid is well below aerobic/cardio target, silence if kid is in range, beep really loud if kid exceeds range" unit. If they are being mass-produced for kids, the age won't vary enough to have to worry about individualized target ranges, so you just issue each kid one and tell them to make the unit not beep during gym class, and you know they are getting some good exercise.

If they were, I can also see (maybe!) summary data, over time, being used to measure the average fitness of school kids, or even possibly identifying kids that are having trouble reaching target heart ranges or reaching and blowing past them too soon. But that's somewhat unlikely.

But storing/using it at an individual level for any other use than to advise the parent, or optimize the kids workout and help ensure the workout is safe?

No, that school would rapidly be embroiled in a complete fecalstorm if they were to try to sell that information, with the people responsible probably getting uninvited conjugal visits with Bubba while in prison. Assuming the parents would let them live long enough. Think "burning torches and pitchforks".

Re:Paranoid (2, Informative)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431867)

This whole question is just ridiculous. Polar sells these kits that schools can buy to use for improving exercise programs. It includes a bunch of chest straps and a bunch of wrist watches. The kids wear the stuff while they run around in gym class. At the end of class, the kids turn their stuff in and the teacher can download the data from the watches via IR to a computer. Then the kids' heart rates can be tracked. It's really an method for optimizing the workouts. It also demonstrates progress over time of physical fitness.

It's the kind of thing that will help identify that baseball and kickball aren't good workouts while basketball, soccer, and field hockey are.


Well (3, Informative)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431513)

That device isn't sophisticated enough to detect arrhythmias. It's heart rate, that's it. And if your child DOES have heart problems, sooner or later he or she will need to see a physician, who will be sure to inform the insurance company of the condition. What I am getting at is that there's no hiding from big brother anyways, so you might as well not worry about the minor infringements of privacy.

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431673)

Likely it's identical to the device that comes with/works with some treadmills. It detects BPM (beats per minute) and that's pretty much it. That's about all the data that's useful for pure exercise monitoring anyway. If this is a public middle school and they're just asking you to buy the strap and not the device, then that's likely the most sophisticated they could afford, even if there was 'evil' motivations behind it. Seen physical education budgets lately?

So yeah, just a little paranoid...

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431699)

And if your child DOES have heart problems, sooner or later he or she will need to see a physician, who will be sure to inform the insurance company of the condition.

Seeing a doctor may also have the side effect of saving their life if they do have an arrhythmia. Having the opportunity to get health insurance later does them no good if they drop dead due to a treatable heart condition first.

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

2short (466733) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431873)

And it almost certainly won't be tied to individual kids anyway. It takes a more expensive strap than they'll have you buy to have two work in close proximity, and in any case the transmit range is feet. They'll probably pass around one non-logging receiver. The only reason to have them buy their own strap is the sanitary issue. I wonder if they'll bother with the recommended conductive gel nobody actually uses? I can just picture being the gym teacher trying to deal with the social issues of getting a 5th grade class to go for the actual standard procedure: "Now everybody lick the strap and slap it on your chest quick before the spit dries."

Troll? (4, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431515)

This would be a pretty good troll posting. Nicely done, if so.

You're just being paranoid (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431521)

Supplying that information to anyone else would be a violation of FERPA and HIPAA statutes. In fact, you should hope that they DO leak this information, because then you could sue their asses off.

Re:You're just being paranoid (2, Insightful)

BlueCollarCamel (884092) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431737)

Why? So even less money is actually used on education?

Re:You're just being paranoid (4, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431757)

Because they're not a healthcare provider, if they acquire HIPAA protected information, they're not actually required to do anything in particular. They could leak it without consequences. They could use it maliciously. They could sell it.

Re:You're just being paranoid (2, Informative)

einstein4pres (226130) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431819)

HIPAA only covers medical practitioners, insurance companies, and the like.
http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8a-hipaa.htm#3 [privacyrights.org]

A little lower indicates that school nurses visits explicitly don't count.

According to the Supreme Court, FERPA doesn't allow individuals to sue.
[privacyrights.org] http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs29-education.htm [privacyrights.org]

Re:You're just being paranoid (1)

arpad1 (458649) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431823)

As opposed, of course, to their doing a crappy job educating your kid in which case you can't sue them for dick as has been reaffirmed plenty of times.

My guess is that this is an extension of the "zero tolerance" attitude rampant in public education. Since public education employees have zero responsibility for educating kids it's just perfectly natural for them not to be responsible for the kid's safety either. So they promulgate poorly-worded and poorly thought-out regulations that take them off the hook for just about everything.

A kid gets shot? No problemo, they've got a zero tolerance weapons policy so they've done everything that can be expected and....they have no responsibility for the shooting.

Kids drop dead due to arrhythmias? No problemo. They make all the kids wear heart monitors which, while they may be medically useless, prove that the administration is worried enough to encumber every kid with a useless gadget. Responsibility? Not!

Go to a school board meeting with as many parents as you can find who are annoyed with this idiotic and self-serving idea, kick up a fuss and my guess is the school board will kill the idea. After all, they're looking for fewer waves not more.

Le sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431535)

TFA rises above paranoia to idiocy.

health care reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431547)

well just make sure we all have insurance. Look at it in a positive view your kid could have a heart murmor or some heart problem that can be fixed early since any operation is a tremendous shot to the body so any operation before 25 will not result in reduction of life time.

Topper (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431549)

That's nothing!!!111
My kid was drugged and kidnapped, then had an explosive collar put around their neck, and dumped on an Island for a battle to the death.

Also, I think you're over reacting

Re:Topper (1)

killthepoor187 (1600283) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431671)

That movie was so awesome.

I bet our youth would feel a hell of a lot less entitled to everything if we instituted the battle royale system here...

Pickle Ball (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431551)

Now that's a sport I'm glad my school didn't have.

Re:Pickle Ball (1)

cwiegmann24 (1476667) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431969)

I loved pickle ball at my school, then again it was because I schooled everyone at it...

Proactive defense from lawsuit (2, Interesting)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431561)

If your child has heart problems, the device will alert staff. Or, they could be like this guy and be on trial for manslaughter.

http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/57036257.html [wkyt.com]

Lots of others like him too. They probably just want to avoid lawsuits.

Re:Proactive defense from lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431669)

Based on this article, which might be the same kind of device, it can be downloaded and tracked, and it's used to make sure kids are actually moving in class.

He said that every district that has taken on this technology has discovered at least one student with a previously-undetected heart problem, discovered by the monitor.

http://unioneagle.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3032&Itemid=30 [unioneagle.com]

(replying to myself, posting AC to limit karma-whoring)

Middle school or super secret insurance covert ops (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431565)

It's a fucking middle school.

Re:Middle school or super secret insurance covert (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431675)

There is a *fucking* middle school? Damn stupid conservative parents never let me have any fun when I was a kid!

Just because (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431575)

you're paranoid, doesn't mean they are not out to fsck you in the ass, as you have suspected.

Our country has gone mad, I tell you.

If the Lebowski has taught me anything, you do NOT, repeat, do NOT, fsck a stranger in the ass. Or your neighbor's Corvette gets it.

Yes - you are paranoid. Seek help. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431587)

Total nutcase. You should be happy that instead of a PE class filled with getting hit in the face by rubber balls, the school is trying to actually promote health and exercise. Jeesh what an idiotic country this is turning into.

There is a serious concern here (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431591)

Although this could be dismissed as paranoia, there are some serious concerns here. Do you have a legal right to privacy concerning your child's medical record, captured in a non-medical context, in a public school? Does HIPAA or any other law currently on the books presently address this? Do you have a right to be informed regarding the disposition of such data before it's collected?

You had a good reason to consult the principal, if you don't get assurances in writing I wouldn't suggest that you allow the device to be used on your child.

Re:There is a serious concern here (1, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431777)

By the way, I'm sorry that most of the folks who have posted so far are unsympathetic and unthinking creeps. It's your job to watch out for your child, and such thinking is hardly paranoid.

Why I think the question is silly (1)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431893)

A gym teacher is already going to learn many health-related things about a child. The President's physical fitness test (or whatever it's called) produces a nice national fitness benchmark, for instance--one at least as good as a heart rate monitor.

The silliness is in reacting to what is a completely bog-standard piece of athletic gear, just because it is electronic. A stopwatch is also an electronic device for benchmarking students but it rarely produces these types of questions.

And to answer your question, educational health records are generally covered under FERPA not HIPAA.

Learn more:

http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/doc/ferpa-hippa-guidance.pdf [ed.gov]

Chill Out Dude! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431607)

Dude, You need to chill. Yes, be concerned that they are asking you to pay for something they obviously didn't fund fully, but using the data against your kid is a bit over the top. Many schools use the data to show your childs progress etc. and track their health during the course of the year.

Schools don't have the money for long term storage of the data.

(FYI, I'm a public school IT director).

Insulation from Lawyers? (1)

mlund (1096699) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431619)

If nothing else, those monitors could provide exculpatory evidence that the school was, in fact, neither cruel nor negligent the next time some kid drops dead running wind sprints in gym class after he and a dozen other slackers complained that they "didn't feel good."

Paranoid (5, Insightful)

Ben Newman (53813) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431621)

I vote paranoid. In all the places I've heard of this used its only used as a way for the students to collect their own information and to monitor themselves and their own heart rate. These devices are generally only heart rate monitors, in no way are they designed to notice an arrhythmia, and I've never heard of the data being collected in any way. Besides since they've asked you to purchase the equipment, you would be better able to know exactly what the capabilities of the model you were asked to buy then a bunch of random Slashdotters. Stop reading the site and do some research.

Heart Rate testing in middle school... (4, Informative)

jerzee55 (1274446) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431625)

I saw something similar in a school where I teach. A research project involving a group of children was asked to participate after parental permission and notification and consent were given, detailing the purpose of the project, asking for permission for blood samples and a complete physical given to the child free of charge. The students were awarded gift certificates and other free items such as calculators, CD carriers, and water bottles. The heart monitors were worn during gym class only, and the heart rates were compared prior to and after exercised to measure heart rate resting times. The data was tied to numbers, not names, and was stored that way, so there were no long term consequences of the test, and all information was shared with parents. If you have not given your permission for this testing, I would certainly be upset as a parent that you have not been given any information as to the use of the data, or the confidentiality of the data.

Buy suunto (1)

JoneK (833819) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431633)

http://www.suunto.com/ [suunto.com] is the leader of hear rate monitoring. I had an device that was attached to computer after exercise and it downloaded data to comp.

Stupid new Gym Classes (1)

jessejay356 (625312) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431635)

I was told they do this to monitor you during gym because they are getting REALLY lazy. The only thing you have to do in class to get a good grade is to keep your heart rate above a certain bpm, and you are done with Gym after a certain number of minutes. They don't teach you crap!

Re:Stupid new Gym Classes (2, Insightful)

enigma32 (128601) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431831)

"They don't teach you crap!" ---- As opposed to my younger sister's experience where she takes written tests in gym class? I was always under the impression that gym class existed in order to ensure that as we grow up we are making good habits in using our bodies-- not knowing the ins and outs of every retarded sport the world has come up with. (American football, anyone?)

Personally, I never had much use for the class. I don't really care to learn how to play basketball, soccer, "football". I prefer biking, kayaking, climbing, etc. as enjoyable ways to maintain a healthy body. The administration never seemed to understand that pre-college though.

I can't see any reasonable reason to be monitoring students' heart rate either-- Whatever their supposed purpose is, it only is a detriment to the ability of the gym class instructor to do their job-- and at worst will leave that individual (or group of people) even more lazy about their jobs.

I'd rather have incentives for people to work harder and do a better job than using technology to be lazy.

Re:Stupid new Gym Classes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431875)

I've heard that fundamental gym education has been neglected in the US, and students have been doing poorly on standardized gym tests for some time now. The future looks pretty bleak for US gym-based technologies.

Or am I just being paranoid? (1)

mrtwice99 (1435899) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431645)

> Or am I just being paranoid?


Step 1: call school and ask questions
Step 2: post to slashdot if paranoia is justified


You'd rather know (1)

Carrion Creeper (673888) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431649)

You'd really rather know if your child had an arrhythmia. That way you can take preventive measures so they don't just up and die one day because of it.

Health discrimination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431655)

Yeah, pretty much the same way they look at your 7th grade math scores and decide you can only work at Taco Bell.

I think that looking at health records would be a far cheaper and more reliable way for insurance companies to discriminate against someone.

pre-existing conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431663)

If your country had a sane health care system, you would not have to worry about things like this. As an European I find it amazing that in a supposedly civilized country a person could be denied health care just when he needs it (pre-existing condition results in policy cancellation, things like that would never fly here...)

Chance to learn about the body (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431683)

We had a similar program in my high school several years ago, but it was used as a learning device to show children the benefits of keeping up a good heart rate. It really opened my eyes as to how lazily I ran (minimum rise in heart pace). Use this as an opportunity to teach your child about proper health maintenance, and don't worry about future applications. If this school is anything like most, they will lose the information before it even can be applied to anything.

A HRM is a really REALLY valuable exercise aid.. (3, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431701)

A heart rate monitor is an incredibly valuable exercise aid.

You want to keep your heart going fast, but not TOO fast. Especially when coupled with treadmills and similar devices, you can stay in the target heart rate zone automatically as the device adjusts the load.

Likewise, its very useful in combination with a GPS-based bicycle computer: it really allows you to see where you are strong, where you are pushing yourself TOO hard, and when you really need to go harder.

Also, exercise heart-rate monitors aren't THAT precise: you can detect a gross abnormality like atrial fibrilation, but nothing subtle.

Better than 1 size fits all gym (1)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431835)

Back when I took gym in highschool we had what amounted to a 1 size fit all program. I'll admit it, I was a fat kid. So every Wednesday when we had aerobics and you had to run around the gym so many times, run up/down the stairs so many times, jump rope so many times, etc... and your grade was based on the number of times you completed the cycle I did terrible and got a bad grade. Assuming they make proper use of this heart rate monitor they could grade based on effective exercising per person instead of trying to fit everyone into one category.

Re:A HRM is a really REALLY valuable exercise aid. (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431899)

Without heart monitors and GPS, humans would not have survived into the 21st century.

I just read about this (1)

dptalia (804960) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431705)

On polar's website. They're the leader in heart rate monitors - for exercise. No more details that that. It'll tell you your heart rate, your calories burned etc. I've been using one for 10 years now, and as an info-junkie I swear by it.

paranoid lil' bit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431725)

it is actually not anything quite so sinister (sort of)...

The monitor is used to record the users heart rate over time - the school uses the results as part of the student's grade - fex you need to do X mins of exercise with your heart rate in 'the zone' to get a certain grade. Because some of the activities measured are 'run X laps of the school' or whatever it helps the teachers know who is doing the 'assignment' and who is just walking and talking with their friends.

Sadly the school here (WA) never seems to have enough of the right sized straps, so there is some rush at the start of class to get the best straps - a badly fitting strap can cause the monitor to give a low result even if you were doing the exercise.

Seems like BS to me that you should have to buy your own tho, but it also gets up my kilt when they send assignments home that require Excel, PPT, etc. and expect that I will go out and buy a license for that.

Paranoid BUT - - (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431739)

BUT - that doesn't mean you should go along with it. The thing that gets me is that they're requesting the Students to purchase their own heart rate monitor straps. Why? Explain to me how one could afford heart rate monitors but not the straps that go with them?

Either way - there are cheaper alternatives to monitor heart rate. What happened to the old count the pulses for 30 seconds? Are they concerned with kids lying about it? Well then, make them actually exercise until you can see the physical signs, like sweat, heavier breathing, etc etc.

While I think the whole "Oh no medical records" is paranoia at its finest, it doesn't mean she should have to deal with the ACTUAL baggage thats coming with a heart monitoring program.

Re:Paranoid BUT - - (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431903)

Perhaps its so that each student will have their own strap.

Middle school gym probably doesn't do the whole locker room thing so it'd be a lot easier if each student was responsible for their own strap and washing it.

Anonymous troll post on the front page? Thanks! (0, Troll)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431755)

So an anonymous reader submits a story of a anonymous person with a child at an anonymous school and that qualifies for the front page? I thought I'd seen useless articles posted at Slashdot but this must be the absolute worst.

This is ridiculous (2, Insightful)

acid06 (917409) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431773)

You're debating over the "privacy issues" or whatever.

Have you never stopped to wonder how stupidly ridiculous it is to ask a child to use heart monitors while performing basic physical activities? Soon they'll be outlawing sports for kids altogether as they raise the chance of physical injuries or whatever.

And the fact that they might be doing this just to avoid lawsuits is every more disturbing. American society is still one of the greatest around - and I'm not an American - but it seems it's clearly entering a downward-spiral these days. Silly lawsuits, silly laws, "intellectual property", GPS-tracked mileage taxes.

Seriously, you need to save your country.

holy stupid, batman (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431779)

My tinfoil-hat concern is that the heart rate data will be tied to each child, then archived and eventually used for/against them down the road when applying for insurance, high-stress jobs, etc. '

This is beyond tinfoil. This is the among the stupidest things I've ever read as an ask slashdot. It just goes to show that parental instincts can turn intelligent humans into frightened, protective, stupid animals.

Submitter: A heart rate monitor is just a more accurate way of measuring someone's pulse. Have you ever exercised in your life? Did you put your fingers to your neck to check your pulse? This is the same thing, but with more accurate reading. And it beeps if your heart rate gets too high so you know to slow down.

Do some damn research and try to collect your brains back into your skull. The big scary world isn't trying to ruin your little darling by checking his pulse.

Re:holy stupid, batman (2, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431871)

There is no computer saving the data when I check my pulse with my finger.

information could be a good thing (1)

panthroman (1415081) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431785)

It might be a doctor saying "This arrythmia dates back to 7th grade? With that vital piece of information, we should really..."

Story is a Troll! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431787)

And you fell for it.

the real solution (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431801)

is to remove manditory PE from the schools. Use it as time to learn music, or have a out of class work for an hour to help kids deal with homework.

Here is the thing:
30 minutes of half hearted PE exercise in a gym where you mostly goof off really doesn't provide anything. If the child isn't getting exercise at home and learning proper diets then this isn't going to help them.

Use the money for PE top provide a healthy lunch. No more pizza and cheap hot dogs.

Kids that are inclined to exercise will play at home. Many kids do not get an opportunity to learn music in the home, and just learning to play a little each day stimulates the brain.

no, I do not play music, but I wish all the effort schools spent to get me to wear shorts and sweat had been put into making learn an instrument..any instrument

Sweat, not technology (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431803)

Now I've heard everything.

This has to be some legalistic crap. Anybody who has ever done so knows that aerobic exercise feels good. If you're working too hard, you feel breathless. The military have a good way to evaluate this, when they run and sing a cadence.

Somebody needs to tell the pinheads setting this policy that exercise and fitness are functions of sweat, not of technology.


...laura who enjoys aerobic workouts

Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431807)

They used them 10-12 years ago in my highschool (oh fond day I remember seeing my first breast when the most friendly girls pulled their shirts up to put theirs on without going into the locker rooms).. anyway...

Back then all they did was report data into a wristwatch with an LCD. I think there was some way to load it onto a computer that they never used.

Anyway--all they did was use it to optimize/help us "tune" our heart rate while doing running/aerobic exercises to try to find out how healthy we were, how fast our rate was. I think maybe we used them for a month to try to improve our resting/exercise rates and then forgot about it.

Honestly--you should be more concerned about whether or not the gym teachers are competent to interpret the data from it. Mine told me my resting heart rate was dangerously high and constantly told me to run slower. I've never been diagnosed with a condition, but when jogging fast, my rate would break 160 BPM and I'd feel *fine*...when under stress.... well...I'm pretty sure a cardiologist would have freaked out. As best I can tell, they just know statistical averages, and assume every child should fit into it--and if you don't...you're not healthy. Great lesson.

If you're already worried about the data being provided...as other posters have indicated... well...you could clarify that you do not allow it to be shared. But more importantly...hope they do--if you ever catch them you're going to have one of the sweetest lawsuits ever for the FERPA violation.

Not paranoid. (1)

niteshifter (1252200) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431809)

It sounds to me like your being .... what's the word / phrase I'm searching for .... a concerned parent. Vigilant about the young'un. I.E. what you're supposed to be doing. That duty you owe the kid, yourself and us, the rest of society.

Get the answers to your questions (I don't have 'em). Do the fact-checking. Decide on a course of action.

Now an interesting question arises for Kargeneth's post:

Are people really this paranoid?

You mean the school or the parent?

Side discussion into healthcare (3, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431815)

I sure as hell hope that Obama and the congress/senate outlaws denying insurance based on preexisting conditions. It seems like such an obvious abuse of the uneven patient - insurer relationship and an area sorely in need of regulation.

Re:Side discussion into healthcare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431913)

But that would be (gasp) SOCIALISM! We must allow insurers to rape individuals and deny coverage lest the Invisible Market Fairy become angry!

Teaching the use of an HRM is valuable. (1)

spock_iii (1152403) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431821)

While your privacy concerns may be worth exploring, I have the feeling that this situation is quite innocent. The HRM is an extremely valuable tool when exercising, and it is worth knowing how to use it properly. In short, if you are not hitting a target heart rate, you may not be exercising effectively. If you exceed a certain limit, you may be doing yourself actual harm. At some point, a school may even be able to make the argument that this reduces their liability.

Ask the teacher (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431833)

Why not ask the teacher what it's being used for? I can think of a couple of things.

  1. You're only doing the strap, so this is just for hygiene and he'll wear it either way
  2. It's so they can teach the kids to recognize when their heart rate is high enough to be cardiac exercise or when they are working too hard
  3. It's so they can chart the kids over the semester to see if what they are teaching them is working (i.e. to evaluate the teacher/program, not the kids)
  4. Maybe it's to make teaching how your heart rate changes in response to stress/exercise easier than when I was in school (and you had to take your own pulse to a stopwatch)

Just find out what they are using it for. If you are really paranoid, get the principal to sign some slip saying that can only use it for those purposes.

Not everything has to be sinister. This doesn't seem like any real invasion of privacy. Would you be worried if the kids were running on fancy treadmills that already do this anyway?

Knowing your heart rate can be an important thing in exercising.

This is /. (1)

Sybert42 (1309493) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431845)

We are all male virgins, who therefore have no children.

Re:This is /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431947)

The child is adopted.

I bought some heart-rate monitors to donate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431857)

I bought some heart-rate straps (displaying on watches) as a donation to a local high school.

The instructor was concerned because his girls had varying degrees of fitness.

Due to different physical conditions, girls performing at the same level might be doing vastly different levels of exertion.

One girl might be running using moderate exertion, while another might have a heart-rate way beyond a sustainable rate.

Several problems turned up.

1) chest straps aren't ideal to put on and take off. Several issues, including modesty.
2) devices didn't fit all people.
3) chest straps had batteries which weren't replaceable! What was the vendor thinking about?

I am a geeky guy. So I think there is great potential to doing real-time measurement, and making real-time adjustment of physical challange.

It seems intuitive that this might result in "optimal" use of time, and possibly a pleasant exercise experience.

Is it a good idea? I don't know.
Can it be abused? Certainly.
Would insurance companies like this info, to avoid insuring people who might make a claim? Of course.

But I suspect most problems will be with over-competitive males trying to cram high expectations down the throats of their students.

A heart rate monitor is an innocent device. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431859)

It does just that, it counts beats per minute, which is usefull to know during sports excersises. I'm using one myself during sports. The only thing that you can infer from the data is your general level of fitness.

Doubt it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431879)

I don't think you are nutty for asking like so many of these slashdotters -- electronics are allowing for a frightening level of invasion of privacy, and too many people now don't see their privacy being completely violated as a problem. I could easily see *somebody* just deciding this would be a "revenue stream" or something. 25 years ago, it would have been UNTHINKABLE to have advertising in schools, a few years after that, they had that "Channel 1" which many schools air daily, full of ads. However, I do find it VERY unlikely this info is even being recorded.

          That said, I think the school is either 1) using these to tell when exercise level is optimal or 2) to cover their ass so some kid doesn't end up in the hospital just from PE. Or both.

My conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431885)

Your kid is fat. (trollin' intended)

Letter to Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29431907)

Dear Slashdot,

My child is now required to wear a heart monitor in gym class *sigh*. How can I hide my childs disabilities from insurance companies as to avoid Denial of Service? The well-being of my child comes second behind higher premiums and fear of big brother. Any suggestions to remedy my concerns?

Mr. Tinfoil

Paranoid (4, Funny)

spitzak (4019) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431927)

There is a secret device in there that is using WiFi (with it's own cancer-causing radio waves, too) to communicate directly to Obama's death panels in the (former) white house. They are still perfecting the reverse control that can kill your kid right on the spot the moment they figure out his health care will be too expensive, so I would really watch out if they insist on updating the device! Fortunately a tin foil hat pressed firmly around the kids head will stop the transmissions, and for extra security you can also get a surgeon to implant tin foil wrapped right around the kid's heart, too.

Seriously, this is obviously a heart-rate monitor like those in treadmills to measure the quality of aerobic exercise.

Bigger fish (1)

jamesl (106902) | more than 5 years ago | (#29431935)

If your 12 (?) year old son has an arrythmia he may not live long enough to apply for insurance as an adult -- unless you learn about it now and get treatment. These things don't go away by themselves.

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