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Checking the Klein Oak High School webpage, I found they seem to have an
administrative team of ten one of whom (Kevin Wood, I think) has "504"
listed in his duties description.  Addresses are:
email @ redacted; email @ redacted; email @ redacted;
email @ redacted; email @ redacted; email @ redacted;
email @ redacted; email @ redacted; email @ redacted;
email @ redacted
I sent the following letter to all of them.


Mr. Hoff,

I am a music teacher in the Beaver Local School District, based in Lisbon,
Ohio.  I currently serve as an Elementary Music Specialist, although prior
to moving into this position I taught on middle & high school level Vocal
Music & Theatre Arts within our district & elsewhere.

I am very concerned that your school seems to have no real understanding of
the issues facing a child with diabetes, or the far-reaching implications
his suspension for having medically-necessary health-care supplies in his
possession could have for your students on all grade levels, & for faculty,
staff, & administration as well.

As an educator, I am VERY cognizant of the dangers inherent in a student
carrying anything that could pose a health risk to others, or be
perceived/utilized as a weapon.  I am also very aware that many schools in
this country now enforce strict "zero tolerance" policies, implemented for
the protection of the safety & well-being of all, due to the trends of
violence in schools that has grown so alarmingly over the past few years.
If this young man is to be penalized, however, for carrying on his person
(as it was explained to me, this was an unusual happening, not his normal
habit) the item that is needed to keep him alive, then zero tolerance must
also be applied in any & EVERY other case that could be construed as
such...these might include the wearing of any sort of pin or broach, a
safety pin utilized to temporarily hold together a torn article of clothing,
a freshly-sharpened pencil, any papers that have been stapled together -
staplers themselves would HAVE to be banned & anyone caught using them
strictly punished, as well as paper clips...do you see where this leads?

It is wholly inconceivable to me that within your school district's
policies, the student may not have with him in the classroom a glucometer so
that he can test as needed.  As a Type 1 diabetic, I have experienced
sudden-onset low blood sugars that, had I been unable to treat with glucose
AT THAT MOMENT would have rendered me incapable of safely traveling down the
hall to another room where such supplies are kept.  While not every diabetic
in the world may need this kind of immediate treatment often, EVERY diabetic
must have the option of carrying on his or her person the tools required for
survival - yes, lives have been lost in this manner.  The letter I received
informing me of Ryan's situation stated that he was unalloyed to take
glucose or eat in the classroom if needed...that could make the difference
for him (or for some other diabetic student to follow in the years ahead)
between maintaining consciousness & slipping into a coma.  Your school
board, superintendent, or whoever is responsible for the establishment of
such policies in your district needs some very basic education here -
carrying out what appears to be the current policy on this could jeopardize
the school a great deal in terms of liability...& the bottom line is, it
endangers children.

Please consider passing word on to anyone who has the authority to affect
this situation that penalizing Ryan for carrying an insulin pen is
tantamount to telling a wheelchair-bound student that the chair must be left
in the nurse's office, because it poses a danger to others who may have
their toes run over.  No, I am not exaggerating...Ryan (or any diabetic
student) could find himself, if affected by low blood sugar & prohibited
from as simple an immediate treatment as eating two or three glucose
tablets, far more helpless & unable to travel the length of that hallway
than the paraplegic denied his wheelchair.

I am thankful beyond belief that the school system in which I work has a
clear enough understanding to allow diabetic students (& teachers!) to test
in the classroom as needed, treat with glucose or simple sugars as needed, &
to face our days with confidence that we will be treated fairly & without
discrimination.  In the interest of the health & safety of your students,
please consider enacting whatever changes are needed to create an
environment which allows students with medical challenges as much "normalcy"
as their lives permit...& do not continue to place them in the kind of
discomfort, unease, & potential danger that Ryan has faced.  Life for
children & teenagers is challenging enough - we are discrediting our field
if we, as educators, compromise their well-being by allowing these kind of
rules to stand.

Sammi States
Elementary Music Specialist
Beaver Local Schools
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