The attached article published yesterday in the NYTimes.com has caused considerable discussion.
I have not verified all the claims to "legal rights’ of school children, but I believe that parents should be aware. Also, I’m not advocating suing a school, unless necessary.
My view may not be popular, but it is practical. I am in the education field myself, and a Type 1 for 32 years who grew up with little to no involvement from my school. I literally cannot imagine having to be an educator these days and be expected to help kids manage their diabetes. I have a hard time managing it myself…I can’t imagine expecting my employer or even a close friend try to help me manage it. I can’t blame these schools one bit for rejecting kids for enrollment given the expectations put on them. School systems are underfunded as it is, and teachers and support staff are spread so thin, through no fault of their own. It might make parents indignant, but we need to be practical here in what we realistically expect the schools to provide in terms of BG monitoring, dealing with lows, helping with injections or pumping, etc. It’s just too overwhelming.
There are disabled children in school who are provided with Personal Aids for the entire day. (they have these aids due to the same legal rights discussed in the article) If that can be managed, having a health aid on staff who can assist kids with T1D seems perfectly reasonable. I agree it should not be left to teachers - but it cannot fall to small children or their parents during school. I am lucky - we have not had one issue at school (yet) but I found the experiences described in the article to be appalling. In my opinion public education is undervalued and underfunded - one consequence of which is inadequate staffing of school nurses. We only have one nurse for a district with several schools - she has been there everyday at lunch until this week - I suspect it was because my son is recently diagnosed. Most days - she won’t be there, but there is a health aid.
We are just 1 month in of being diagnosed. My son attends a private/religious school where they meet the needs of serveral students who are autistic, some with extreme peanut allergies/bees stings - that carry their medical needs with them everywhere, those who are deathly those students who are in need of daily prescription medicine and one child who is catheroized daily by the principal, however, they say they do not feel comfortable having anyone on staff giving injections to my son. I truly understand if it is policy, however, my child, just like some of these other children fall under the disability act. (I know all that I listed don’t fall under the disability act, just stating what the staff has agreed to do for other students at this school) If you provide any type of medical service for one child, shouldn’t you have to provide for every child? Since I am new to this, I would love some guidance and feedback!
I hear you. My husband and i were required to provide ALL T1 care for our son from pre-K to 9th grade. In high school there was a school nurse. It did not occur to us to fight it because we were often reminded that this Catholic school had a waiting list.
On the other hand I agree with the writer who spoke of how impossible it is for school teachers to own this responsibility. Not just T1, but all the stuff we now put on the shoulders of our teachers. As usual, we under-fund most of what ought to identify us as a progressive compassionate society- e.g. edu, teachers, school nurses, and more. I now realize we could have pressureed the school…but i would not want to ADD more to the workload of teachers.
Respectfully submitted, Boston
Being a parent of a child with a disability that does require medical attention 24/7, I see the importantance of having a trained nurse/aid at the schools. I dont care if its a public or private school. All children are the same regardless of the disability. We should not discriminate. For example, there are children who blind, in wheel chairs, epileptic, deaf, severe allergies, many who have ADD/ADHD the list can go on. The school is staffed for them. What makes T1D any different? To me its about equality. I am fully aware that my child’s condition is very difficult to manage, however it is still her right to get a fair education and properly treated. If that means having trained staffed so be it. I have heard some families had to adjust and live off a one wage income just so they could be available and take care of thier child during the day. I will admit, since my child has been diagnosed I have trained the school nurse on how to the carb correction ratios including BG corrections. Including my child’s injections. I have not been able to return to my “duties” granted i still return for her lunch and assist with her injections. Other than that, all of her BG checks are done only by the school nurse. at least the school is trying. Also if there is any doubt it is in ther 504 plan to call me. I think open communication between the schools and parents are vital for a change to happen…