WATERBURY, CT—Officials at Staunton Junior High School in Waterbury are praising three male students for taking the time Monday to point out the physical shortcomings of a female classmate.
Shortly before 9 a.m. homeroom, eighth-graders Jonathan Kurtz, Robby Simonson and Mitch Elliott freely offered classmate Shelley Griese, 13, an in-depth critique of her many flaws, generously giving her their candid appraisal without solicitation. Among Griese's body parts the boys cited as being in great need of improvement: her enormous thighs, stomach, buttocks, arms, chest and double chin. The trio also strongly recommended that Griese take active measures to improve her face, which they called "really ugly."
"Shelley's last name is Griese because that's what her skin is like," said Simonson, who has taken to calling his overweight classmate "Greasy Griese." "Just looking at her makes me wanna throw up."
"Even though she's flat, she wears a bra," Kurtz said of the 140-pound Griese. "And when you look at her from the back, you can see these rolls of fat hanging over the strap. It's, like, so gross."
Staunton JHS principal Howard Krumholz praised the boys for their "selflessness and candor."
"It's rare nowadays to see young people who are willing to reach out to a peer to let her know exactly what her weaknesses are and what aspects of her appearance she should strive to improve," Krumholz said. "If not for Jonathan, Robby and Mitch, Shelley may never have known that she needs to lose 40 pounds, minimum. I certainly didn't have the courage to broach the subject."
School psychologist Harriet Cisneros also had high praise for the trio. "These boys took the time to help a heavier, less self-aware classmate," Cisneros said. "Their fellow students should be proud of them and look up to them as role models."
In addition to Griese's weight problem, the boys also made the girl aware of her tangled, dishwater-brown hair; her shuffling, clumsy gait; and her shapeless, non-descript clothes, which look like her mom got them for like $2 at the Salvation Army or something.
Despite the boys' eagerness to help, Griese has become so unwilling to accept criticism that she often refuses to go to school, locking herself in the bathroom and threatening to swallow drain cleaner shortly before her bus arrives.
"Shelley is lucky enough to have people who care about her, but she's too closed-minded to listen to their advice," said her mother, Roberta Griese. "These boys just want to help her change, and she doesn't even realize it. It's their way of telling her they really care about her."
"Who knows," her mother continued, "maybe it's also the boys' way of telling her they'd like to take her out for pizza and a movie."