Student Physicals
10:00 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Parents concerned about student physical exams

A group of Buffalo School District parents is voicing outrage at the way the district is conducting physical examinations of their children.

A group of Buffalo Public School mothers speaking out against Tanner tests for students.
A group of Buffalo Public School mothers speaking out against Tanner tests for students.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

School nurses conduct the exams, which include a visual examination of genitalia to determine the physical development of the students.  But the parents say these exams were taking place without their authorization.  Annette Jordan says her daughter and son were asked to remove their clothing during physicals at School 59.

"I said to (my son), 'Did you have to take a physical?'  He said yes.  She (the nurse) told (him) to take (his) clothes off," Jordan said.  "I then said, 'What did she do?'  He said she felt around (his) private parts.  I could not believe it.  I did not authorize this."

Dr. Steven Lana
Dr. Steven Lana

The school district's Medical Director Dr. Steven Lana said he couldn't address the specifics surrounding what these parents were saying.  Lana said an annual physical is required for all school students, whether they play sports or not.  Ideally, he said, this would be performed by a family physician.  But if that's not possible, Lana said the school district will provide a physical, free of charge.

"Part of a complete exam includes an assessment of the child's level of development and where they are in puberty," Lana said.  "The medical terminology for that is the Tanner Stage.  I think there's so much emphasis on Tanner Stage when (the focus) should be on that it's a part of a physical exam." 

Lana said he is prepared to meet with anyone to clarify district procedures when it comes to student physicals.  He said if communication with parents needs to improve, that will happen. 

Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown says the district will review state requirements along with the district procedures.