A diabetic discrimination story


What do you think of a school system that requires a 10 year old to go to a “special” room a dozen classes away from the student’s classroom because one certainly wouldn’t want this little T1 to accidentally get a drop of blood on anyone? One had better hope that a 10 year old, in this situation, is not having too many lows. This was twenty years beyond your experience, this was my son’s introduction to D in 2003.

Good for you for putting the “emotional” effort into taking the company to court. I know that it must have been very difficult for you and hope that being able to express yourself here has lessened some of the pain of the experience.


Cheryl, I am not an expert on children because I’ve never had any but I do have common sense. Isn’t it childish for grown-up school school staff to make that much of a spectical out of something that should be routine? I’ve met parents of kids with D as well as teachers who have made testing and treatment relatively inconspicuous- I truly hope your child gets someone at his or her school that can be more forward thinking than that. I have friends who have been T1 since childhood and some say it was probably better they became D before 18. I was 23 and had a hell of a time adjusting; I can’t imagine how I would have handled it when I was younger. For what it’s worth, I have great respect for families with D children. You’re all heroes to me.

It’s bothering me that I said my boss was a T2. I should have said D because that is really the point. If I offended anyone, please accept my apology. Virgil

I’m not a T2, but I don’t think anyone would be offended. Mentioning that your boss was a T2 was important because he didn’t understand how much testing is needed for T1s on insulin.

I agree.

or for T2 on insulin too.

Thanks Virgil,

We felt very overwhelmed with the initial learning curve, so I really cannot imagine the struggle for a 23 year old to come to grips with the changes that one has no choice but to put in place to manage D effectively. Some day awareness will be such that young adults will not find themselves having to deal with the added confrontation of workplace harassment and your advocacy in having stood against workplace harassment helps all of us.

Our two children have very different personalities. Our oldest, our daughter is extremely outgoing, while our youngest, our son, is very shy and reserved. When our son was diagnosed with D, it was important to us that he become comfortable managing his diabetes in the presence of people and not feel that testing is something that needs to be done out of view, or behind closed doors. With his reserved personality, this has been an ongoing challenge.

Our son’s school board actually has a written diabetes management policy. As part of the policy a clean, private place is to be designated on school grounds for diabetes management and while this is greatly appreciated in situations where one might need to take pants off to administer an injection, confining BG tests to a remote location is neither practical nor desirable. The wording of the written policy clearly shows a board concern with exposure to HIV and Hep B. That being, said at some point the medical and emotional well being of the T1 child needs to be the real priority. We could easily have shown school administration that our son did not pose either an HIV risk or a Hep B risk to any of his fellow students. We were just too new to the whole D thing back then to advocate.

David had a terrific teacher in a mixed 7/8 class for both of his years in grade 7 and 8. During those years he was able to test his BG in the classroom and be free to drink a juice during class, whenever needed. He was also given access to the photocopy room by the principals office that had a locking door if he did need to remove clothing to administer an injection. These days with the pump, it is just the BG checks and juice sort of thing that needs to be handled and his grade 7/8 teacher’s perspective helped him tremendously in gaining a comfort zone to test wherever and whenever he needed. She was an aggressive, outgoing, fireball of a little lady and she ran a finely tuned classroom. Sadly for the students, she has since retired, but I will always remember her for her practical, sensible approach. She is just one of those teachers that one never forgets and may we all meet more people like her in our working and personal lives.


You know, Virgil, I know so many D’s of all types now, in person, and from so many forums, who don’t take care of their illness, or don’t know much on how to care for their illness… either by choice, or because they haven’t gotten enough education… that I’m not offended… It’s unfortunate. The worst part is that he is not hurting you more than he is hurting himself. In a few years, those complications will come knocking on his door, and he’s not going to be able to revert them. It’s very hard to stop that train once it’s in full force… and I hate to say this, but then, he will remember you. Then, when they have to cauterize the capillaries in his eyes, or when they have to amputate his leg, or when they have to dialyse him. He’ll remember, alright. There is no regret more painful than the one you can do nothing to go back and change.

Hmm… I send my cooks and servers home if they have a bandaid on their hands, fingers, or anything that might be touching food. It’s a health code violation, if anything… but I get what you mean Brandi.

Hear Hear!!

Hello Virgil,

And thank you for posting your story. I am sorry to say, but there will be ignorant people out that there who will not be as understanding as we hope them to be. When I come across this type of discrimination it upsets me… I cannot contemplate on why there are those out there who behave in such a way…

Kudos to you for your bravery!

Virgil- I give you a great deal of credit for getting a lawyer and taking the company to task for their ignorance and insensitivity. Remembering back to 1983, people were not as informed about D as they are today and there was no ADA to keep them in line. I was lucky with my last work experience. I was Dx’ed with T-1 while working for a company, I had been there 2 years, and my supervisor had a teen-age daughter with T-1 ( dx’ed at age 8.) She made sure everyone knew the signs of having a low and it was very comfortable for me while I remained there. The only one feeling shame or embarrassment for your situation should be the company ( if they are still in business.)

Virgil, I am shocked and apalled! I have read some really aweful stories today & am just having a hard time comprehending the flat out bad manners let alone lack of basic human to human “give a crap”! I am so sorry this happened to you, but as others have said before me, so proud of you for taking it to court! You mention several times that you suffered great embarrassement and shame, but I would like to point out the fact that you are a man of courage, strength & Fortitude (as my grandmother used to say). I, for one cannot say that I would have taken up the fight - In fact I know that I would not have been that strong! We are all proud of you & you should erase any negative feelings you have associated with this experience… You have done something great for the community & for yourself! Be Proud! We are! (My little one says they are “poopoo heads!”)

As I’ve mentioned in another discussion, I’ve had a very surprising and negative comment (including a wave of the hand) from a diabetes educator once that suggested, without her knowing anything at all of me or how I control my diabetes, that type 2 is nothing…just fluff!
So, with that and other enormously ignorant comments directed at me, nothing truly shocks me anymore…unfortunately or fortunately!!

Thank you for sharing your story! I sure do hope that you got a lot of money back. The school called me one day and told me that I needed to go in and see them about my son so I said i will be there in about 20 mins. While I was walking there it was so hot out that my sugar started to go low by the time I got to the school it was 1.2, so of course i drank some juice but while I was talking to the ladys in the office I was not making sense. I could tell that they were scared they assumed that i was a lunitic. I told them that i was not feeling well that I would have to come back another day. I left the school and went and had something to eat. A few days later i checked my answering machine to find out that they had called childrens aid on me and told them that i was mentally unstable and they felt i needed help to raise my kids. Well of course The first thing I did was called them and freaked. I almost pulled my kids out of that school. I told them to go and look at the charts i had given them when my kids got t1 and asked them what were the symstoms of a low or a high blood sugar. I called a lawyer and after i talked to the lawyer I called the school and told them i would sue them for discrimming against me and i told them beleive you me i will win. They said sorry to me and they told me to leave them alone that they were only human. I said really good for you well I am human too and i will not put up with anyones ignorance I have too many times in my life. I feel i have to teach people for myself more importantly for both my kids who also have t1 diabetes. A couple weeks later I had to drop something off for my son in the office and I happened to look up at the chart That i have given them on the symtons of lows and highs and i noticed some things were now underlined and high lighted. I am glad that i freaked on them I hate ignorant people. That was a couple years ago now when I go to the school now I can see that they do not like me but now they treat me with more repect.

Well, jennifer…tough s_ _ _t if they don’t like you…the feeling’s mutual I’m sure!! I just love the way they jump the gun. Without giving it the slightest hesitation, they were about to ruin you life and the life of your children forever…and they dare call themselves educators! They obviously had never even read the T1 info sheet, or some of that information would have triggered SOME recall on how to treat lows!..and there you thought your children were safe!!
These stories go on and on…and it frightens me and sickens me, to think how many were damaged by ignorance and sheer stupidity.
I’m SO glad you “freaked”…it at least caused them to fear a lawsuit, and to read the info sheet!

Oh Virgil, I am so sorry you went through that horrible experience. As if we can do anything about the fact we have diabetes - and take care of ourselves or not, it still requires some understanding. Another crime against humanity. You shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. But I understand where you are coming from. Yes, this has come up MORE times than I can count. Once I was having such a severe low that I needed to go to the break room and put my feet up. I was so cold that I brought my coat and wrapped it around me. I closed my eyes because it felt better to close them while I was reeling from being super dizzy. Well, someone must have poked their head in (I didn’t notice because I was low & my eyes were closed) and told the big boss about this because I was called into her office a few days later for “sleeping on the job” & that my coworkers (petty people they were) felt I was using my diabetes as an excuse - for “what” exactly they never said, but it was incredible! My integrity was on the line & I reminded my boss that the Americans with Disabilities Act was instituted for just such reasons! I was so angry!!! What a bunch of nasty people I worked with! One lady used to say to me when I drank a juice box to fix a low, “Look at you, drinking your juice just like a little kid. My God.” The insensitivity to one’s fellow man shown to me at times in my life has been incredibly disheartening and depressing. I don’t work there any more - I finally quit because of all the B.S. I am an exemplary employee & have been in a fabulous work environment for over two years. I appreciate my good fortune in having the job I do because I love it.

Some people are so unkind!!! I don’t know how they live with themselves! I know if I feel I’ve hurt someone’s feelings I feel hurt myself. To deliberately try to hurt or undermine someone when they mean you no harm is appalling & it would haunt me for years to do that! It’s my least favorite thing about people. Ugh. Enough of that. Thank you for sharing your story Virgil. Thank you for listening to mine too.

Sigh…so sad that there are people like those. I think with some, it comes so naturally that they’re not even aware of their cruel behaviour. With others, it’s a climb up the rungs of the ladder…telling the boss on you, or the other; making a comment to make herself superior and likely loud enough so that others would be made aware of your major faux pas. They’re so focused on hurting and getting ahead, that they don’t even see, OR CARE TO SEE the reason why you do things the way you do. It’s to the point that we almost have to carry a sign of sorts to make others aware that what we are doing at that moment is done to treat a medical condition. I big sign hanging from my neck that reads “LOW”. Did you ever see the movie starring Demi Moore, in which she was made to wear a sign that sported a huge letter “A” for adulteress?

Really. I thought it was acceptable to double glove ones hands around food and still work…
Thats at least what I was told by the local health dept…

Thank you for making me laugh lmao and for making me feel normal cause believe you me i will give someone the shirt of my back but if you knock on my door the wrong way i will go to any extreme it takes to teach the ignorant. I always have a little chuckle before i go into the school because they seem afraid of what i might say if i feel they have done something wrong. It felt so good to freak on them :slight_smile: I told them you punish the children when they are misbehaving or send them to detention if they have not finished there homework so I said what should be your punishment for humilating my family and for you not doing your home work on what diabetes is and the side affects of it. I have freaked on so many people in my life i can not keep count but when I freak i try to give good examples so there thick skulls can understand it in english and i ask them if they would like me to learn to say it in other languages just in case they do not understand!