Problems with son's school


 I was just wondering if other people have problems dealing with your children's school. My son attends a very small private school and there is no nurse. He is 9 and was diagnosed last March 24th. When he was first diagnosed, they told me at the school that they would have no problems dealing with the situation. They have another child who is a year older and was diagnosed a few years ago, but I feel like I am always in the school dealing with this. The teachers and administrators really don't understand. They have left him alone on more than 1 occasion while his bs was in the 40's. They are so casual about the whole thing.  Last week I had asked one of his teachers to make sure he tested after they went skating. When I picked him up that afternoon, she said "sorry I forgot to have him test - there are so many other kids to take care of..."

The people at the school get upset with my son if he forgets to test or retest after a low, but I feel like it is their responsibility to remind him if necessary. They are constantly comparing him to the other child in the school with T1. She is very responsible and has been dealing with this much longer. 

Any tips for dealing with this? I would just like to know if people have similar problems with their schools and if moving him to a school with a nurse will really make a difference. Thanks!





Hi Michelle

I feel bad that you are dealing with this. My daughter is also 9 and was diagnosed in September.  She goes to a very small public school with a school nurse who has become my hero and one of my confidants and friends...simply because she is always there for Mac and the other 2 boys in school with T1.  It sounds as if the school you are at really has no clue about not only the health and safety of your son (which has to be your number one concern, no matter how it may inconvenience them!) or no clue about the potential lawsuit they have awaiting them if they are that careless about the health issues of all their students.  It is absolutely inexcusable to leave a child alone if he has diabetes, Let Alone in the 40s!  Unbelievable.  I would be panicky every time I sent him to school.  Our school nurse checks and re-checks, she knows what they should eat or not, and she calls me at work with anything that concerns her, big or little.  She offers advice, throws in opinions, and supports me and MacKenzie.  Really, I could not have made it through these first 5 months without her.  Mac's teacher is also on the ball...and I have been along on field trips where she has a backpack full of stuff for the kids with asthma, diabetes, allergies, etc....that is just what you do if you are a responsible educator.

I would suggest that you schedule a meeting for the administrative team (however many that may be) as well as your child's teacher.  Explain to them in nicest terms possible (as hard as that may be!) the severity of this issue and the simple fact that it is their responsibility to be in loco the place of the parent while he is in their care.  Now, I am a public school teacher; I know how seriously WE take that...I don't know if a private school is bound by the same laws, but I would assume they are.  I also assume you pay tuition, and I would mention that if they cannot care for your child, you have no choice but to move him to a school with a nurse or at the very least, a competent staff.  I am guessing in todays economy, they will not want to lose your tuition.  Then YOU lay down the laws...tell them how to care for your son!  They have no business comparing him to anyone else.  He is an individual, and he is 9 for Heaven's Sake....they are the adults.  If that does not work, you can alway try the school board--and honestly, as hard as it may be, I would look into a different schooling option for next year if you are not satisfied.  I know it's hard to move kids, and I assume you have a reason for having him at that school, but really...his health needs should be their concern and you should NOT have to worry when you send him to school!


Best of luck.


Hi Kim,

It sounds like you have an ideal situation at your daughter's school. You are very lucky.

I have really thought about moving him to another school, and even discussed it with him, but he is really against it. I think it would break his heart. He has  a small group of friends that are really close and supportive. Last year after one of these incidents, I asked his DNE what she thought about me moving him. She said it would be just as bad at a public school and I have to consider his quality of life. So many things have changed in his life in the past year, I really don't want to make another one. The school he is currently attending only goes up to the 5th grade, so he has only 2 more years after this and then he would move to a school with a nurse, so I really want to be able to work this out. 

I have had many meetings with the teachers and the administrator who run the school. I go into the office several times a week to address issues and to give him insulin shots when he's high. I just feel so worn out form having to constantly check what they are doing. Last week he tested and was 43 at his lunchtime check. The person in the office told him to go get a juice and then go to lunch. He never retested to make sure his bs came back up! I was pretty angry about this and the fact that they didn't supervise him. Then I opened his lunchbox and found 1.5 oz of juice - he only drank 2.5 oz of the 4 he should have! I am trying not to panic about these things, but like I said it gets pretty tiring having to worry all the time.

Thanks for the support,



I am angry for you just reading this. You should NOT have to go to school to make sure he is ok.  I absolutely understand not wanting to move him, and good friends are a definite there a school board you can address? It just sounds as if the school is being lax to the point of danger.  I don't necessarily agree it would be just as bad at public school...I guess it depends on the school, but as I said, we public schools have some pretty strict laws we MUST follow in terms of our students' health and well being.  I am trying to figure out who would be the highest in command...if your admin hasn't helped and your teachers haven't helped...where does the funding for your school come from?  Unfortunately in our world, money talks...and unfortunately if you have not, you may need to point out to whomever is in charge that they are opening the doors to a major lawsuit if anything happens to your son, and inform them that you are documenting every instance of neglect they are demonstrating.  As a teacher, that threat drives me crazy...but let me tell you, it usually gets things done.

I will keep thinking for any suggestions, and if I get the chance, I'll ask my school nurse what she recommends.  This whole thing is emotionally wearing, isn't it??  Hang in there, sister!  I'll pray for your little guy, and for your peace of mind!

The school is a non profit. I have tried the public schools in our town. My oldest daughter attended the local elementary school until the 4th grade. Unfortunately our town had huge budget cuts which increased her class size by 1/3 and cut the enrichment services she had been receiving. She struggled after that and I decided to move her and my other 3 kids followed.

A social worker at our hospital gave me some information about having a nurse go into the school and train the staff. I am going to look into this because I do want him to be able to continue there. It is a very small school and a close community where I know all the parents and kids. It's kind of like a big family in that sense. So there are enough positives to try to keep him there.

I think a lot of it is just the attitude of the people at the school. Their children don't have these health problems and they have a hard time understanding them. I had a similar problem there with one of my daughters who has asthma. They really didn't get it. They sort of treated her like she was a hypochondriac until one day they called me to pick her up. I took her straight to the Dr and her oxygen saturation was in the 80's and it should be above 97. I ended up bringing her to the ER. I was pretty mad and after that they seemed to take her health issues more seriously. 

Thanks for all the words of encouragement. I think the other night I was feeling really frustrated with this whole thing and it really helped to have someone out there who understands. Talking to other people is so hard. They just really don't get it as I know I didn't before this happened to my son. Even my closest friends don't get it. If I hear one more time "at least he doesn't have cancer"... It drives me crazy! I'm not sure why people think that will make you feel better. Of course I am thrilled that he doesn't have cancer, but he does have T1 diabetes and that's no bowl of cherries either!

My son just turned 11 and also goes to a very small private school. Diabetes has been with us for three years now. He is on a pump. We have a system going where he calls me on his cell phone before each snack, meal, treat etc..... We quickly discuss his BG, level of activity and decide either to do what the pump says or something different. Earlier this year we tried to wean him from the calls, but he was forgetting to either test, or would test and would forget to bolus. The school is very supportive but I cannot rely on the teachers to remember to remind him to test and bolus. I tried writing messages on the board, setting an alarm on his watch, talking to teachers..... the cell phone has solved the problem for us. The school does not allow cell phones but they allow my son to have a phone and to use it. He hates it when I call him if he he has learned not to forget. His teachers had to go through a learning curve, accepting the phone etc... Once they realized how tricky it is for a child to have Diabetes they have become very supportive. That being said, I don't entrust them with reminding my son.... I know that they get distracted, forget etc.....

Regarding the problem of leaving your son alone when he has a low, including his classmates has helped to solve that issue. When my son was diagnosed I had the nurse educator come and teach everyone about diabetes and what to watch for and how to help (with sugar only). We also went over safety issues with the pump explaining that nobody but my son was to touch it etc...... I feel like it takes a community to raise a child, and it really takes a community to deal with diabetes. The more people that know, the better.  The past two years I have come in as a guest speaker and taught a unit on diabetes. A big part of that is to never leave a diabetic who is low alone. It has sunk in everywhere and when my son calls me to report a low, he always tells me who is with him. He has been alone before and I talk him through eating sugar and then talk him through finding an adult. I only had to do that once. 

In short, it takes a lot of education, organisation, persistence, consistency to get the school to understand and respect your son's needs. It is like a working relationship. At first I felt like I was always complaining. Then I figured out how to educate by finding a system (cell phone) that works for us. It isn't perfect, but it is better. 

Today the class had swim lessons. I stopped by and didn't feel comfortable because my son had a low before swimming. Luckily, I could stay and push gatorade at him between laps. I am glad that I could be there....he was 55 after he was done....even with the gatorade. I am lucky to have the flexability in my life to take the time out for him when my instincts are screaming at me. That is the other part of the that I am able to take time away from work to guide him.

I hope this helps...



Thank you Hania! A cell phone is such a great idea. I hadn't thought of that. The way we have been doing it at my son's school is that the administrator in the office where he tests sends me an email. I am at home with my other son, so I just check my email. The system works well when my son's numbers are ok and when they remember to email me. Right now I am still waiting for his numbers from yesterday. My son is still on shots and I have tried to get them to understand that I need the numbers everyday because I base his insulin dose on his previous numbers. It's been almost a year now since his diagnosis and sometimes it feels like I will never get them to understand.

It sounds like your son's school is a lot like mine. My son also has swimming and skating where they go to a local public pool/rink on a bus. These days and days where they have field trips are always the most stressful. It's great to hear that someone else is in a similar situation. When the teachers forget to have him test or have a snack, they always try to put it on him. It's a big responsibility for a nine year old.

I also always feel that I am complaining. It does feel like a constant educating process. I am going to look into having a nurse educator come in to run a class for the staff. How did you get someone? Did you have to pay for that or did insurance cover it?

Thanks so much for the input. I feel like there may actually be some hope now to solve this problem and be able to keep in the school he loves.



Regarding the nurse educator: she didn't charge us for coming to speak with the teachers. We did donate some money to the JDRF in her name. We did not ask the insurance to pay for that. Was there a diabetic nurse educator involved when your son was diagnosed? We had one, and she was our 'go-to' person.

It is also very important to teach all of his classmates about diabetes too. Most kids are very interested. Many are also quite awkward and afraid, especially of the needles. My son always helps with these short 'classes'. He tests his blood and shows the others how he does it. When they watch and say child-like things that are hurtful or inappropriate, it creates a learning opportunity for all of them. We talk about what to say if you feel 'grossed out'. For example: "instead of saying eeeewwww!, you can say 'coooool!'. I explain to the kids that it is important to say positive things etc..... Most of the time, when the kids understand, they become huge helpers in keeping an eye out for behavior that can happen during lows. 

My son loves having a cell phone. It will probably have a huge cool factor for your son too. Good luck!