Descrimination from a GUIDANCE COUNCILOR!

So my guidance councilor gives me the "don't let diabetes define you" talk every time we meet. Well today I asked him for a recommendation to work as a CIT at a DIABETES camp. He said "I would not recommend out control blood sugars like yours work at a diabetes camp because that is setting a bad example" I said "oh" felt the tears of anger start to come and walked out.

Eventually I will have to face my guidance councilor. What should I do? What would you do? Should I tell him how he stabbed me past my heart into my soul? Should I say "Well actually I was asking for a recommendation letter about me NOT MY DIABETES?

It sounds like you've previously had a good relationship with your Guidance Counselor and I'm sorry that you felt hurt by what he said. He definitely could have thought of a better way to say it, but I'm sorry, I tend to agree with him. I've never been to Diabetes Camp but I would assume that the Counselors there should be role models - not for perfect blood sugar because who among us manages that! But for doing what needs to be done to manage our Diabetes the best we can.

I don't know when the camp is, but assuming it's in the summer he could have used the time between now and then to motivate you to work on your Diabetes control so that you could be a good role model and camp counselor.

As for what you should do, since you are hurt and angry, and it sounds like the guidance counselor is someone you respect, you should tell him how you feel. He will hopefully explain his reasons and maybe, especially if you ask, he will agree to refer you if you put more effort into your D care. Perhaps, if needed, he can also refer you to someone who will support you in achieving your goals. (whether a counselor with experience with Diabetes, a Diabetic Educator or both)

My A1C is 6.7 as of Saturday. My blood sugars have been really good. Except during a certain week of every month. My blood sugars have been very stable since I switched to Minimed from the Omnipod in october of 2011. I don't let diabetes define me and I never will. I am just annoyed because I think he thinks because teachers tell him I have been testing in class more often than before is because my numbers are bad. But they really are not! I test about12-15 times a day and that is because I don't feel my highs and lows. I test at least every hour while I am awake and every 2-3 hours at night. I wake up and test at 12-230-430 ajd I get up at 630. I work very hard to manage my Diabetes and since I got my Minimed have been able to do so. I recieved a call from my endo after sending over my carelink results and she just wanted to say how proud she was of me. I just don't get it!

I can see the guidance counselors point to a certain point, I certainly think anyone who wants to be a counselor for a Diabetic camp should have really good control of their blood sugar, however that being said, I also think he was kinda out of line as well. I think IF he had concerns maybe he should have asked how your diabetes is coming along, why there seems to be more reports of you testing your bg more frequently. Let's face it those who dont live with this are clueless as to the importance of that. I think to maybe even something along the lines if your Dr can write a letter stating your blood sugar is in good control, I'll be happy to write you a letter of reference, but since Im NOT a medical Dr, I think Im not the best judge of how well your diabetes is being managed. I'd give it a day or two for you to let the raw emotion of hurt feelings subside some, and then I'd calmly explain to him how it made you feel, and how you'd appreciate if he had concerns over how well your diabetes was coming along, he'd simply ASK and not make assumptions. I think to I might ask for a letter of reference from my endo as well, as they have the best knowledge of how well your diabetes is in control. Sorry you had to experience that.

Good work on improving your blood sugars and putting so much effort into taking care of yourself. I have a couple of reactions -

Even if your blood sugars were out of control, it isn't his job to determine who a diabetes camp wants to hire as a CIT. The camp might even want to hire kids with not so great control to help them as well as the campers.

I wouldn't go all dramatic on him. Make an appointment to see him and let him know that your control is good and that you really work at it. Tell him that you really want to work at the camp and ask him again to write a recommendation. If your relationship has been good, simply assume that there is a misunderstanding and take it from there.

If he refuses, call or have a parent call the American Diabetes Association. They have full time staff who help families manage problems with teachers and schools. They often get good results.

Good Luck,


PS - Update your profile for your new A1c and put your best foot forward :-)

Perhaps if you share what you just posted above with your councilor in an calm and respectful way he will see how serious your are. In fact someone who takes their condition as seriously as you would be an excellent role model and councilor.

This is also a good opportunity to educate someone about why frequent testing is important and how it helps with your control. We have to understand that most people have a very sketchy understanding of diabetes and not be surprised when they misunderstand.

That's great, Gabby! Looking at your profile, I saw listed an A1C of 9.8, and that's what I was responding to. That's awesome that you got your A1C down that well. Perhaps the Guidance Counselor still has you pegged as "out of control" and needs to be told how much better you are doing!

I agree with the others that a letter from your endo would be a lot more important to show how well you are managing your D, where a letter from your Guidance Counselor should speak to areas he knows more about such as your grades, behavior, outside activities, future plans, etc.

THANK YOU to every one who responded! I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart! This is the reason I love Tudiabetes; you always get responses!!!

What does he know about your blood sugar? If you (or your parents if you are < 18...) haven't signed a medical authorization form, he has NO right to ANY of your medical information. It's probably a bit of a gray area if you've had issues at school or talked to him about it but I bet his boss would *ABSOLUTELY* not be very happy he said that to you.

Does he have any particular expertise pertaining to diabetes? If you tried to beat up a cop when you were hypo flipping or something like that, maybe that could be a defense for him but, unless he's a medical doctor (in which case he would not be likely to be a counselor), he has NO standing to say ANYTHING about your management of diabetes. Even if MrsCounselor is T1 or T2, they are apples and oranges. Even if HE's T1 and knows a bunch of stuff, he should NOT be counseling you based on your BG control or his ill-informed knowledge of it.

If you have improved your A1C like that, from 9.8 in your profile to 6.7, while you're in high school, you would be the PERFECT CIT at a camp, you've been there and done that and improved.

What is this counsellor's phone number? I'm going to give him a piece of my mind!!

I agree that it is not the guidance councilor's job to determine who the camp gets to hire and I certainly agree that the counselor could have better tact. However, as someone who is asked to write letters of rec for students every year, the counselor is certainaly entitled to decide whether he/she wants to write a letter of recomendation or not, and certainly should not ne pressured from outside entities to write a letter, if that is what you are suggesting the ADA will do..

I alway tell any student who really wants me to write a letter of recommendation, even if I suggest that I'm probably not the person to ask, that they will get an honest assessment from me, regarding both strengths and weaknesses. If my letter of recommendation is to mean anything, it must be an honest assessment.

I agree that Gabby could probably talk to the counselor and clarify why she feels that her control is good and that she will make a good camp counselor or that, liek she says, thats not waht shes even asking the letter to comment on.. That's advocating for yourself and stating your case. Beyond that, the ball is in the counselor's court and, while he/she doesn't get to decide who gets to be camp counselor, he/she is not being asked to make that decision. He/she is being asked for their word which they must be willing to stand behind 100$, or it reallu isn;t worth the effort.

Really sorry to hear this Gabby and I've been on both sides of this issue. It's not easy for anybody concerned.

The guidance counselor is right in that diabetes does not define you. Therefore, the counselor's own assessement of you as a diabetic does not define you either. That probably doesn't make it hurt any less, but really, if you do look at it as about your diabetes, not you, then it's less personal.

In the end, nobody else can tell you about your diabetes except yourself and anybody else who you trust to make a knowledgeable and honest assessment of your management.

It took many years, but I had to learn the hard way myself that the opinion of others regarding my diabetes management means nothing unless I want it to mean something, or let it mean something.

IF you have blood sugars coming down and under control and IF you have a doctor who agrees with you that you'd be a super duper CIT at a diabetes camp, get the recommendation from your doctor. There's something that has to be done, however, with the guidance counselor.
When you have gotten over the insult emotionally, write up a speech. Include in it a resume of how your blood sugar's have changed over the year. Show him a diagram. Say to him that you want to get the record straight because this is your life he's making a judgment on - and your future life is extremely important to you. You see the diabetes camp as a stepping stone for great things in the future and for great things in a lot of the campers' lives as well. Write it up as a speech, memorize it and present it. And if he's accepts that, good. If he is still a resistant head-in-the -sand know-it-all, go to his boss. State the reason you are coming to the boss, state that your goal is to get a good recommendation, not a poor one, for a post you want. Guidance counselors need guidance sometimes. Tell them you want a copy of the letter for your files. You can DO it, Gabby. It will let everyone know you are an achiever.

Hi -

A guidance counselor isn't a dissertation advisor or an employer. His or her job isn't merely to give an "honest" opinion but to help the student. A call to the ADA might put pressure on the school to give a recommendation but the point is that the ADA might educate the counselor about his or her responsibilities to students and his or her responsibilites under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Acting as a gatekeeper based on at best anecdotal information isn't consistent with either. I have no doubt that the counselor was well meaning which is why a bit of education would be helpful.


My following comments are not about Gabby in particular so please do not take these comments as a reflection in her.

However, a guidance counselors job is to provide guidance based upon their professional training, experience and, yes, professional judgement. If it is the guidance counselors opinion that the student will not be successful in a particular undertaking then it is their job to guide the student towards another path. A letter of recommendations is not a right granted by virtue of being a student. If a guidance counselor is asked to recommend a student in their capacity as a counselor then they can’t be coerced into writing someth. Ining they feel should not be written.

Obviously, in this particular circumstance, a case can be made that the counselors opinion is not accurate and that the counselor is not qualified to comment on a diabetics ability to manage their own condtionin that case, Gabby could ask the counselor if they could write a letter of rec based on her positive attributes.

I have to say, I think you guidance counselor was out of line and you should tell him so. You asked him for a reference for a job, reflecting his knowledge of your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. He can decline to do that for a variety of reasons, but to perform a medical assessment and deny you consideration he would have offered others is discrimination.

He is not your doctor and he is not your endo. For him to evalute your blood sugar control is inappropriate. He is not an expert. This is a diabetes camp. If they want to know about your control, they know exactly who to ask about your control. They would obviously ask your endo. And the laws are pretty clear about things. You have a right to equal access and consideration despite having D. Being in school you are highly protected. And to be denied consideration for a reference letter because of your diabetes is discriminatory.

Personally, I would walk right in and read him the riot act. But you don't have to do that. You can either talk to the head of the guidance department or go right to your principal (or assistant principal). Some schools also have special education specialists who are fully versed in the law (in particular Section 504, the ADA). Just be clear, you wanted a reference letter for a summer camp that happens to be for diabetes, and your guidance counselor refused your request on medical grounds, citing his personal assessment of your medical condition and that you think that is inappropriate. Your guidance counself can certainly decline to provide you a recommendation, but he cannot do that based on this discriminatory criteria. You don't have to talk to the guidance counselor, you can talk to others about this.

Heck, maybe they should only let non-diabetics work at the diabetes camps. They have perfect bg's all the time so they should be a good example!

Just think what a morale booster that will be for the kids. The non-diabetic can come in, test their bg and have it be perfect, and show all the kids what they're doing everything wrong. If only they did it right they'd be perfect just like the non-diabetic example. Maybe we can call it "CAMP UR DOING IT WRONG". That's a great idea.

It sounds like your councilor is way off base. Do they have any medical training? If not then it they have no way of knowing your control. I bet he hears that you are testing more and incorrectly reasons that you are doing worse. I would be quite upset like you. I would not even bother to meet with the councilor again, instead I would go to his boss or the principal. I would tell his boss how the councilor used your personal health information to make a decision. I would also explain that you are testing more and have gotten much better control from it. I also might ask to switch councilors, if possible, as I would find it very difficult to be counciled by them in the future.

Ask someone else for a reference and congratulations on your great imporvement in A1C. Its hard work and you should be proud of yourself.

Hi gabby. It will take some work on your part to get this all straightened out, but we're rooting for you. In the meantime, please add your new A1c on your profile page to show how far you've come -- it's a badge of honor.

Wow...I think you need to be the adult here and set him straight.

I would explain to him that managing Type 1 diabetes is not simple, and that "controlling" blood sugar levels is not as easy/simple as it sounds. It's not just about what you eat and how much insulin you take, but also about so many other factors that you have no control over (hormones, weather, potency of the insulin you're using, accuracy of the meter you're using, pump issues, stress, etc). If I start to get a little sick (something completely out of my control), my BG shoots up for days. I have very little control over this. If my infusion site goes bad or somehow gets dislodged, my BG will shoot up if I don't notice it right away. The week before my period is filled with huge swings (mostly highs) because of the hormonal surge you get before your period starts (which increases insulin resistance). And then I bottom out the day my period begins.

The bottom line is that being a full-time pancreas is really, really hard. Pumps make things a bit easier, and the faster-acting insulins are great, but a lot of care we have to give ourselves is imperfect. We still have to make tons of decisions each day that affect BG levels. And these decisions (which feel more like educated guesses) have deadly consequences if we get them wrong. For example, my BG was 163 when I woke up this morning. That's high. BUT, I was about to commute to work, something that usually results in my BG bottoming out. Do I ride that high and keep an eye on it, hoping it doesn't go higher? Or do I correct and risk my BG dropping while commuting, during which time I could pass out and fall onto the train tracks? Or wreck my car? Or inadvertently walk out into traffic and kill myself (something I almost did a couple of years ago when I went low)? These are tough decisions. People think that we just take insulin and eat the right foods and everything is magically ok, but it just isn't that simple.

And you may want to literally walk him through your day and explain all the decisions you have to make on an hourly basis. All the times you test. All the times you calculate exactly what you're eating. All the times you have to think about diabetes and make a really important decision.

Also (and you can print out my response and show it to him), controlling BGs when you're a teenager is virtually IMPOSSIBLE. The surge of hormones that you're randomly getting wreak havoc on control. An A1C of 6.7 is AMAZING at your age (mine was rarely under 8.5 when I was your age, and I had more double-digit A1Cs than I care to remember). You can't control your hormones. Trying to pin down basal rates at that age is hard because your body is changing on a weekly basis. For me, things got way easier once I hit my early 20s and my body calmed down. And, I personally think that achieving control is even harder for women, because we have the whole monthly cycle thing to deal with.

In your guidance counselor a doctor? If not, he has no authority and is in absolutely NO position to comment on your control.

I think the key is being calm and talking to him like an adult. Assuming he doesn't have T1, you know WAY more about managing T1 diabetes than he does. His point of reference may be someone with T2 diabetes, and it just isn't the same thing.

Finally, I don't think your control has to be perfect to be a counselor at a camp. There are so many teens going through the challenges of living with type 1 diabetes and few of them have "perfect" control. The important part is that you're doing all the things you should be doing - testing frequenting, using a pump, communicating with your doctor, etc. That's how you can be a role model to other kids.

Hi Gabby! Congrats on such an improved A1c!!! You should be very proud indeed because we all realize here how much hard work it took to make that happen. I am so sorry that your meeting with the guidance counselor didn't go well but don't give up. You're tougher than that!

I suggest you take the high road and use this as an educational opportunity, while still getting the result that you want - a letter of rec for the counselor opportunity..

First, if your endo personally called to tell you you're doing a great job, then that's where I would go first. I would ask the endo if she would write a letter of recommendation and include in the letter the remarkable progress you've made and what a great job you're doing as a teenager managing a tough to handle disease. I'm sure your endo would be happy to write the letter.

Once I had that letter, I would bring it to the jerky guidance counselor...sorry but my opinion is that he overstepped his boundaries with this. He didn't ask questions or listen to Gabby first as I would expect a guidance counselor to be trained to do...he jumped to judgement.

I would read the letter from the endo to the guidance counselor and have a pre-planned speech as someone else suggested about what it's like to live with Diabetes as a teenager and why you feel you would make a good role model at camp - and I believe you would be perfect for a counselor because you know how hard it is and you've made such progress. You're someone that other kids will be able to relate to because you haven't always been "perfect" (not that any of us such thing). Before you leave, you should ask the guidance counselor based on the information you've given him, to reconsider and give some thought to writing you a letter of rec.

You may be surprised and receive a letter. But even if you don't, at least you'll get to say what you have to say and that's worth something too. And at the very least, you may increase the knowledge of this guidance counselor and maybe help another student with diabetes who comes through that office one day.