A RITD welcome, and D at a school science fair

Welcome to Rolling in the D, the newest blog to enter the Diabetes Online Community (affectionately referred to as the DOC).  In this blog, we’ll explore some of the stories of how diabetes makes its presence known in our lives and the lives of others.

I’ve contemplated starting a blog for a long time.  I’ll post a formal Introduction and Welcome message shortly, but I’ve been eager to discuss this story for a long time, so let’s just jump right in, and we’ll deal with the formalities later.

Photo by Flickr user 9-lives

Back in April of last year, a New Jersey elementary school student who has Type 1 diabetes decided to teach her classmates about what it’s like to live with the chronic condition.  During her school’s science fair, she engaged other students in a true “hands-on” demonstration of one of her regular rituals by testing the blood sugar of at least twenty of her classmates.

(We don’t know the student’s name, only that she was in second, third, or fourth grade)

The controversy?  She used the same lancet for everyone.  While this did raise some concern, the school administration’s response was honest but muted.  “It was totally innocent. It was absolutely not a malicious situation,” said school superintendent Terri Sinatra.  Noting that the girl did not inform her teacher of her plan, she added “that obviously wouldn’t have been allowed under standard protocol.”

Sinatra did state that, once this activity was discovered, each student was checked out by the school nurse who determined there was “no concern of any health threat.”  Additionally, parents of affected students and the county’s Public Health Department were notified.

No harm, no foul.

Or so it seems.  While online comments to newspaper articles are often dubious at best, a few give the impression of close knowledge of the situation.  One commenter claims the nurse never really checked the students.  Another suggests that parents, not teachers, were supervising the kids as teachers conducted meetings in classrooms.

In Sinatra’s monthly report for April, she noted the Science Fair/Open House that was held the day before the newspaper published their article on the incident, but not of the incident itself.  However, in May, according to her report, nurses “completed a health information packet that…includes procedures for…diabetic illness” (among other things).  Was this related?  I don’t know.

So what happens now?

While I do wonder how the school nurse was able to ascertain that there was absolutely no concern of a health threat in such short time, I’m glad this incident didn’t get blown out of proportion (to the press, anyway).  And, I must admire the girl for her courage: her courage not only to accept her diabetes, but to advertise it.  She made an ill-advised choice in sharing lancets, that’s for sure, but she shouldn’t be singled out and publicly admonished for it.   Let’s not take someone who openly and confidently displays her diabetes and make her feel ashamed.

Was the administration’s response appropriate?  Was there really a legitimate health risk in the first place?   Have you ever shared a lancet with someone else?  Leave your answers in the comments!

Posted on February 2, 2012, in Diabetes, News and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.


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