From Oregon, USA:
My daughter has attended a private school for the last 6 years. Last week she was pulled out of class by a study hall teacher for taking her glucose tabs in class. The instructor thought it was medicine and took them away from her as she was treating a low blood sugar. She was sent to the office where they called me and told me they wanted them left in the office. I disagreed and they told me to get a doctor's note for her to carry it. Then this week I get another call from another teacher that was alarmed that she was testing her blood sugars in class. Said it was a "health issue", and that she should "have to do that kind of stuff in the office." I disagreed again and got another note from the doctors urging them to let her carry these with her to her classes.
My daughter handles everything with her diabetes as she's had it since she was 2 years old and she's almost 11. Over the past 6 years at this school she has been allowed to test, eat snack, treat with glucose tabs in class when she needed it at her leisure and now all of a sudden half way through her fifth grade year, she is getting the second degree from teachers who are mistreating her in class in front of her peers and are changing the way she's been treating her diabetes at school.
I'm frustrated and upset that this is happening. Do you have any suggestions? My attorney doesn't seem to interested in diabetic's rights.
It sounds like your daughter and you are really having a struggle at school. School issues are so important to resolve because school is a huge part of your daughter's life. I am not sure what happened at her school to cause the sudden changes, but rather than worrying about that, I would concentrate your energies into educating the whole staff. I am convinced that education is the key to people in the school setting understanding why it is that our kids must do what they do and why it is so important for our kids to have their tools with them. If you have a school nurse, she/he would be ideal for this presentation. If you don't have a school nurse, perhaps your diabetes educator could schedule to come to a staff meeting and do a brief presentation on diabetes -- a "just the facts" kind of a talk that includes the basics and emergency care. It is important that the staff not be overwhelmed with too much information. It is also important to include secretaries, playground monitors, lunch room staff, etc. -- actually anyone who might come in contact with your daughter. Your daughter could also participate if she is comfortable doing so. The principal should be able to set this up for you. Hopefully this, in combination with the notes from your physician will smooth out the issues.
Additional comments from Dr. Tessa Lebinger:If your daughter has been there for 6 years, there must be some reason for the sudden change. There is no question that your daughter should be allowed to eat food in class. If they allowed her to test her blood sugar previously in class, and now want her to stop, there must be some reason. Perhaps a parent complained or is concerned that their child may use your daughter's blood testing equipment on herself.
I suggest you have a meeting with the school nurse and the principal to sort this out. I am not sure what the law is regarding children carrying blood testing equipment in elementary school (I suspect there are theoretical legal issues both for and against allowing this). Whatever the legal issues are, you may be able to get the school to continue to allow your daughter to test if you meet with them and find out their concerns, and discuss ways for both your daughter to be able to test on her own and protect the safety of other children in the class. It is very important for your daughter to know, she must never allow another child to use her meter. It is also important to address safe disposal of lancets. You might want to consider using a lancing device where the lancet remains hidden and concealed in the lancing device after use and is disposed of intact inside the lancing device.
You have to remember that the safety of other children in the class must also be protected and it is not safe nor legal for other children to use your daughter's meter in school.
Original posting 19 Apr 2000
Posted to Social Issues: School and Daycare
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