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[IP] Ryan Wellhoefer

and here's what I e-mailed to Vice-Principal Hoff & all of his colleagues
listed at the high school administrators' web page. Given that this is a high
school with over 3000 students, I wonder how many "officials" were actually
involved in this disciplinary action?????

Dear Mr. Hoff:
    I am adding my voice to the dozens of outraged parents from whom you have
probably already heard regarding your punitive actions against Ryan
Wellhoefer. Even if he were not a senior, even if he were not a stellar
student, even if he had not been completely compliant with your inane rules
until now, this suspension and fine  are completely unjustified and only
serve to underscore your appalling lack of understanding about what it means
to live with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus day in & day out.
  My own child is a high school senior, and not only carries an insulin pen
which she uses as needed to "back-up" her insulin pump, but also carries her
glucose meter, lancing device, test strips, glucose tablets, etc. She is an
extraordinarily compliant, responsible, mature young adult, as I'm surmising
Ryan to be also. Growing up with diabetes, as my daughter has done since age
9, makes our children more mature than many so-called adults. Asking children
with diabetes to "turn over" their diabetes self-care materials as if they
were contraband is incomprehensible. Notice the term "self-care".  What makes
diabetes such a unique chronic disease is that very quality. These children
are to be admired for their ability to juggle a lifestyle that would
intimidate most adults, and to juggle it well, balancing not only their
carbohydrate intake with their injected insulin, but also accounting for
exercise, for stress, for illness, for meal times. The freedom and
spontaneity which their peers take for granted is not something to be
embraced for these children, but rather a potential pitfall should a teacher
serendipitously offer the class a treat or should a classmate invite him or
her over unexpectedly after school, when they might not have their needed
supplies on hand, or should a sports practice schedule be altered. Each of
these situations which YOU might view as a mere inconvenience could
potentially become a life-threatening scenario for our children with diabetes
if their blood sugar were to drop preciptiously or rise into dangerously high
levels. My daughter's insulin pen is always with her so that if she checks
and her blood sugar is inexplicably elevated, she knows to immediately take
insulin via her pen and then address any possible pump-related causative
factors later. If you could "see" into the minds of these children who
balance all of these factors 24/7, you'd be awed- rather than frightened- by
them, and instead of making rules that undermine their positive self-care,
you'd be applauding their accomplishments.
   As an educator, you should be doing everything in your control to empower
 educate your students to go forth into the community, armed not only with
"book-learning" but with compassion and appreciation for what others have to
face. Sorry to say Mr. Hoff, but as a former teacher myself, I'd have to give
you a failing grade when it comes to "people skills". Not only is Ryan
entitled to immediate re-instatement and dismissal of the fine, but I truly
believe he is entitled to a PUBLIC apology from you and all of your
administrative colleagues who supported this disciplinary decision.

Mrs. Renee Bernett
Bala-Cynwyd, Pa  19004 (Melissa's pump mom & advocate)
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