I am a type 1 diabetic and I was referred to this site based on an incident I am having teaching at a local school.
I started working June 2008 as an after school art teacher and the position has carried over to this day. In addition to the after school program I had also begun substitute teaching at this location. Last week my hours were cut drastically down to a single day each week, which seems hardly even worth while for me. I was told this was due to budgetary limitations. On top of that I was told, in confidence, that the principal of the school had been asking about me and had asked if they knew I was a diabetic (which they do, of course).
You see one day while substitute teaching I stepped to the back of the room to check my blood sugar (as I normally do) and while doing so I knocked a bottle of Humalog insulin from my case. I picked it up and placed it on the counter and was suddenly called away and it was accidentally left there.
Within 3 minutes the teacher called me out of the room, gravely informing me that a student had picked up my bottle of insulin and brought it to her. She was acting as if I had put him in horrible danger, I felt that she was under the impression this was some form of narcotic. I informed her I was a diabetic and assumed that the case was closed but later that day she must have reported this incident to the principal. Other wise it would never have come to my attention at all. The after school program mentioned this I thought in passing but I am coming to the conclusion that my hours being cut may be directly related to this incident.
I attempted to speak with the principal about this today and apologize and explain that this is not something that happens on a regular basis, that I have had diabetes for over ten years and I have never had an incident like this before.
She did not care. She said it was unacceptable. She said “this can’t happen” and I tried to explain that this is an illness that I have to live with. I even tried to show her the bottle and explain that it posed no danger to the students what so ever. But she would have none of it. She was cold, abrasive and short with me and when she finished talking she just looked down at her work as if I should under stand that the conversation was over. I was no longer welcome at her school.
I was shocked and hurt to be turned away and dealt with so dismissively. This is the same elementary school I attended as a child and I always been treated warmly and with respect by the staff and students and now I am just being brushed away.
Later that day I spoke with some of the other after school teachers and one of them mentioned that at one of their meetings they over heard some one say that this is why I was getting fired.
To protect their own interests they were going to let me go. To appease this bully of a principal who is targeting me based on my illness. She called me careless and irresponsible, though this has only happened once. Even though the insulin is probably less dangerous than a bottle of nail polish, a nail clipper a scissor or even a paper clip!
She refuses to have me back as a substitute teacher on the basis that my illness makes me a hazard to her students. I refuse to believe that incident is worthy of me being virtually black listed at her school.
I have a great record as a teacher and I am very popular with the students, which is why they kept me on for ONE day. Because they do not want to lose government funding and they cannot afford to lose any students.
I feel like this may have a discrimination case against them. I do not feel like this “incident” was even worth reporting to the principal and was done so out of fear for an illness they do not understand.
Making an example out of me would be essentially saying that DIABETES is unacceptable at her school. There are surely children with diabetes who have to attend school and I am certain they would not be turned away. This is apart of peoples lives! I know for a fact that there are other diabetic employees at this school and let me tell you they were shaken by this news.
I am outraged and have no idea how to proceed at this point. My initial reaction was to quit teaching altogether but something keeps pulling at me, that this is unjust and I have been treated unfairly.
I am starting to feel like it is MY job as a diabetic to make an example out of her!
I am seeking the advice of other diabetics and diabetic teachers out there and I wanted to share my story. Please let me know what you think and keep in mind that with a closed minded principle ONE slip is all it takes for your illness to be considered UNACCEPTABLE!