Discrimination against children in schools
Diabetes day is approaching. In a few weeks, articles, interviews, instructions, tips, all on the topic of diabetes will start in the media. And a lot of beautiful things will be written, a little ugly, and quite a bit completely wrong.
Mostly millions of people with type 2 diabetes will be mentioned. For type 1 diabetes, journalists will look for a family to come to film through associations. The family will prepare and tell a lot of things, and a very positive 30-second report will be edited, from which you will not see or understand anything about the life of a family with a child with diabetes. What I am absolutely SURE is that you will not read anywhere how much discrimination children with type 1 diabetes experience. The reason for discrimination is in the first place IGNORANCE of the environment!
Forgive me in advance for the tone of this blog, but the amount of grief I feel as I write this is immeasurable. In an age of high availability of information on the Internet, educators working in primary education are reluctant to put minimal effort into their diabetes education while teaching our children.
The first day of school is a big event for the whole family at the same time full of stress and joy. The child goes to school, steps on a new stage of growing up, becomes more independent, accepts responsibilities, learns to live. Some children in Croatian schools do not have the same opportunity for a happy childhood as others. Among these children are children with type 1 diabetes. When we talk about schooling, we talk about the backwardness of the school system in terms of the way the material is adopted and the curriculum itself, but we should not exclude the backwardness of educators in some educational institutions of Lijepa Naša (name of our National Anthem, meaning Our beautiful, referring to homeland). In school, in addition to the material, children learn socialization, tolerance, understanding, compassion and the right to diversity.
How to teach children diversity, if we do not let these different children into the collective? How to teach children tolerance, if the educator does not know, sorry, does not want to tolerate the special needs of a child with diabetes? How to teach a child compassion, if such children are labeled as a school problem and a nuisance, instead of as a child in the first independent contact with life? How can someone who does not want to educate himself work in education?
There are many educators, teachers and professors who do their job responsibly, wholeheartedly and with quality. As we chase other commitments, they babysit, teach and raise our children. They are the ones to whom we have partially left our greatest wealth – our children.
Unfortunately, as in any other profession, a certain number of educators are not up to the task. Here are a few messages for such teachers and school principals who discriminate and harass children with diabetes on a daily basis:
- DIABETES IS NOT AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE, IT CANNOT BE TRANSMITTED BY DROPS
- DON’T THINK YOU KNOW WHAT TYPE 1 DIABETES IS BECAUSE YOUR GRANDMOTHER HAD IT
- TYPE 1 DIABETES IS NOT OBTAINED FROM THE WRONG DIET, FROM CANDIES AND JUICE
- TYPE 1 DIABETES WILL NOT PASS IN PUBERTY
- TYPE 1 DIABETES CANNOT BE CURED
- INSULIN IS NOT A MEDICINE BUT A HORMONE THAT ALLOWS THE REGULATION OF BLOOD SUGAR TO PERSONS WHO CANNOT PRODUCE THAT HORMONE BY THEMSELVES
- TOO MUCH INSULIN CAN KILL A CHILD WITH DIABETES
- WITH LOW SUGAR, HYPOGLYCAEMIA, A CHILD MUST BE ABLE TO EAT SUGAR AND MUST BE SUPERVISED BY AN ADULT
- IGNORING A CHILD’S CONDITION, NOT PROVIDING FIRST AID WHEN A CHILD IS IN HYPOGLYCAEMIA, CAN LEAD A CHILD TO DEATH
School is required by law. Do you know how a parent feels he leaves his child at school every day and does not have the cooperation of a teacher who should periodically check his condition in cooperation with the child? Do you know how a parent who is forced by school to sit in the hallway and check on a child during breaks because the teacher is not concerned about the child’s diabetes feels? How does the whole child’s family feel when the school voluntarily wants to limit such a child’s physical education, and it is precisely physical activity that is essential for the successful regulation of the disease?
Dear teachers, I hope that you will never experience such discrimination, such heartache of your children and grandchildren and feel a continuous fear for the life of your child because of the coldness and disinterest of the staff of the educational institution. What traces does the teacher’s reprimand leave on the child’s psyche after a child with diabetes inadvertently spat at another child in conversation, and when a healthy child does so then it goes unnoticed? What are the pedagogical standards in our schools?
It is necessary for the health and safety of a child with diabetes:
- If the child reports not feeling well, allow the child to call the parent and drink juice or take much-needed sugar (2 minutes)
- To make sure that the child has entered a good number for the required dose of insulin on his / her insulin delivery device (10 seconds) after consulting with the parents
- To check with the child whether the sugar has returned to normal after the intervention due to hypoglycemia (several times for 5 seconds)
That the school has someone trained / interested in providing first aid to the child in case of very low blood sugar and unconsciousness of the child because failure to provide first aid leads the child to a state of brain damage or death. With the help of the child in the previous three points – this case will not even happen.
Do you know how much effort parents put into convincing their child that they can live normally with diabetes, that they can make all their dreams come true in life? We work on it every day, all day without stopping. We build our children’s self-confidence, encourage them, teach them diversity and respect for others. All children with chronic diseases, including children with diabetes, are HEROES. What they endure on a daily basis many of us would never be able to accept. They accepted it because we taught them so, because we empowered them for all of life’s challenges. These are children who urinate up to 15 times a day, either to measure sugar or to dose insulin. Could you do that every day? Just every day of your life? Parents wake them up at night, sometimes several times to eat something because their sugar is too low, or they are stung in their sleep for extra doses of insulin. Can you imagine what happens to that child throughout the day?
Despite everything, our children are cheerful and playful. Unfortunately, we did not know that we had to prepare them for the ignorance and resentment of those who should help them on the way to growing up, and not to relax and create indelible scars.
FEAR diminishes or disappears with good will and LEARNING!
Teachers and principals, do you want a child to lose their life in your school because you were uninterested or do you think that you are not paid to give first aid to a small diabetic child there? How much is humanity paid?
I am not writing this because of a bad experience with my child. My child is still in kindergarten and fortunately she is having only nice experiences and she has been accepted by the children and all the teachers in the kindergarten. I leave her in kindergarten every day with the utmost confidence. When you want, then you can. I will single out one of the experiences from our kindergarten, and that is the comment of an educator who was on a shift in our kindergarten this summer and first encountered childhood diabetes. At the farewell, she said that it was not a problem for her to take care of a child with diabetes at all and that she would be happy to come to our kindergarten when it is needed again. At no point did we feel like a burden in kindergarten and we solved everything by talking and arranging.
All teachers and principals, educators who support our children – THANK YOU!
You are our ANGELS and thank you for caring and for existing. I know there are more of you than these teachers who are not paid for it and believe that your children will know how to give it back to you and you will forever remain in the hearts of these little heroes and their parents.
For you who have a heart for all children, and in your heart you have a real calling for your work, we know that our children can get the treatment they deserve and a happy childhood and develop compassion for others for a lifetime. We expect other teachers to be just like YOU!