Respectfully tell my teacher?

By LaurenFaith Latest Reply 2014-11-16 03:08:04 -0600
Started 2014-11-07 22:48:24 -0600

Today my teacher 'informed' me that I needed to go to the bathroom to give myself shots/check blood sugar. I told him that I needed to be able to give myself shots/check my blood sugar without restrictions. He then told me that it grossed him out, and he 'was sure it bothered other kids too.' How can I best communicate to him that I need to do what I need to do without being disrespectful?

27 replies

funky-diabetic 2014-11-16 03:08:04 -0600 Report

I would tell you to tell him to grow up, but it might affect your grades… I have taken a James Bond approach since I was 13. I try and take my shot without anybody noticing. I have gotten really good at it. Can do it while walking, standing, riding a bike. I have nothing to hide and no shame, I just don't always feel like getting stared at or having to explain what diabetes is. Sometimes I enjoy the shock factor. Mostly I like to keep to myself, so I lay low. Maybe also explain to him that it is your responsibility and you don't like distracting his lessons. Ask your parents to tell him that you are capable of remembering and for him to "back off".

Or give me his address ;)

wraithmb 2014-11-11 08:16:29 -0600 Report

My supervisor at work had the same aversion to needles and blood that a lot of people seem to have. I was asked to go elsewhere to do a blood test and take insulin and test. I did for about a week until I took a severe low… I was a few minutes from my first last coffee break so I decided to wait the 15 minutes for my break, and by the time I got to the bathroom I wasn't able to get back to where my dex tabs were without help. When I was asked why I didn't say something sooner about the risks of "going somewhere else" to test, my response was simple: "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink"

If I were in your position, I wouldn't wait until you're off by yourself and low and in need of help. I think the best way to handle this would be to get your parents, principal, and guidance councillor into a meeting, and bring this up as a safety issue, and depending on you local and state laws, a violation of your rights. Don't wait until someone has to carry you back from the washroom…

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-11-11 08:02:40 -0600 Report

As a type 1, the difference in the few minutes of walking to a nurse; or a room designated for excretion, can be the difference between discreetly popping a few Life Savers, or laying flat on the floor in a pool of your own saliva, and the needles they use to fix that are far more offensive than a lancet.
In a day where Ms. Idaho can stand barely dressed in front of the world, proudly saying 'this is me and how I manage my disease', no Type 1 should be stigmatized to the bathroom, quietly hiding to protect the feelings of weak minded people.

Stuart1966 2014-11-10 21:50:08 -0600 Report

Hello Lauren:

A nasty and very bizarre situation to be sure. Guess they should be thankful you don't have ASTHMA, and don't requite an emergency inhaler…

Oh wait a minute, this IS THE SAME thing!!! You are not testing for pleasure, or amusement. You are testing to prevent any medical emergency from potentially occurring. Injecting… not gonna happen often in class. But as with your testing, even more so.

Going to the bathroom or the nurse's is not remotely reasonable
You are discreet, and mature. It is not remotely reasonable to ask you to go any where. In the real world adults people do not go "elsewhere"…

Is the nurse an ally for you? Will they back you up or not? You have some wiggle room here, depending on who the adults are that will help you directly.

Is your guidance counselor an option? Are they an ally?

If they are, and only if they are, talk to them exactly in the way you are talking to all of us. Have them talk to the math teacher, and get him to back off. If you doubt it. Talk with your parents, your medical doctor, and have them twist some arms.

You should not miss a second of class because someone is uncomfortable with you staying alive, and staying trying to stay healthy. NO valid reason to leave the room at all.

"…Respectfully doing so humiliates and isolates you solely because of your disease and you will not accept that outcome…"

Type1Lou 2014-11-10 18:17:14 -0600 Report

Just curious…What is this teacher's area of expertise…what class is he teaching?…(not that my curiosity is really relevant to the issue.)

LaurenFaith 2014-11-10 20:41:26 -0600 Report

He teaches my math class. (The reason I will be needing to go to him a lot-gah!) Im in high school, and I'm a Freshman, but this class has kids of all ages. The other kids do not have a problem with me testing/giving injections, though.

Type1Lou 2014-11-11 07:41:01 -0600 Report

I once worked for a man who claimed he could never change his kids' diapers because the contents (S___) made him sick. My comment to him was "Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if no diapers were ever changed because the S___ made the Mom's sick?" I suggested that he needed to get over his discomfort and, I feel, that your teacher also needs to master his aversion to blood and needles. (In the best of all possible worlds, none of us would be required to test/inject; in the next best world, your teacher would develop diabetes and either be forced to test/inject or he would die.) I understand that you are in a trickier position than I was at the time I was working for my phobic boss. I was a valued employee and felt free to voice my position without reprisal. When in school, math was my weakest subject and I can understand the need to stay in class and maintain a good relationship with him.)…please let us know how this all develops. Most of us are in support of your right to test and inject without losing any valuable class time. (I doubt the teacher would be willing to "suspend" his class presentation while you are out testing/injecting elsewhere…how disruptive and counterproductive would that be?) As John Crowley noted, the federal laws also support your right to test/inject. Wishing the best for you Lauren!

John Crowley
John Crowley 2014-11-10 17:09:42 -0600 Report

Here's how you respectfully tell your teacher that he's wrong. You share with him that Federal Laws protect your right to manage your health condition while at school and that furthermore, the school may not discriminate against you because of your diabetes. Here's a great document that you could print and share with him:

Now if he has legitimate issues of his own (like fainting at the sight of blood), then it would certainly be appropriate to work out a compromise where he wouldn't need to be right in the line of sight when you test. But to say that you need to leave the room and miss out on whatever educational activities are going on simply because he's "grossed out" is not only juvenile and ridiculous, it is also not in keeping with federal laws.

GabbyPA 2014-11-10 06:25:18 -0600 Report

Are you standing up in front of the class and doing this? Do you announce your intentions? Is it fair for you to have to make more of a deal about it by asking to leave the room and missing class. Wow, this is a bit crazy. What age are we talking about here? Middle School, High School, College?

I do agree that it's his class room and he is doing what he thinks is best for the class. Maybe you could ask to sit in the back of the class room so no one has to see what you are doing? Or maybe the school nurse could come with you and you could educate the class on what you are doing so it doesn't "gross" them out. (Really, and adult being grossed out by that...he should have more empathy) You might find with a little education, that the rest of the class is fine with it and it's just the teacher who has issues.

Don't roll your eyes, don't fight with him, but find a way to work with him to make a compromise for you both. Specially this month, since it's diabetes awareness month, you could approach it that way.

I hope it works out for you. Let us know what you try and how it goes.

sweetslover 2014-11-09 06:57:20 -0600 Report

I totally agree with Just Joyce. I am a retired school teacher and unless it is an emergency, the protocol at schools is that all medical/testing should be done out of the classroom. All schools now have a nurse and/or private area around the main office that LaurenFaith could go to test herself and give herself her shots. She should not have to go to the bathroom to do this.

Stuart1966 2014-11-10 22:00:44 -0600 Report

Hello sweetslover:

There is no valid reason for her to leave the class, or go anywhere else for that matter.

Testing needs to be done anywhere and at any time LaurenFaith believes it necessary.

This must leave the room business is not acceptable, and not likely legal either.

Type1Lou 2014-11-10 08:35:33 -0600 Report

Isn't requiring her to leave the class to test/inject making her miss part of that class and more disruptive than just allowing her to discretely test at her desk? Testing as soon as possible to verify a low and treating it quickly is critical. She might also miss out on some important facts taught to the class while she is out. I think Gabby's suggestion of working with the teacher to come up with an acceptable compromise is a good one and workable. I particularly like the idea of using it as a learning experience for the class during this month dedicated to Diabetes Awareness.

Stuart1966 2014-11-10 22:15:13 -0600 Report

I was with you a million percent until you got to the part about it being a learning experience FOR THE CLASS! 8 O

No… if LaurenFiath wants it to go that direction, ok, maybe. But, I cannot conceive of anybody wanting that kind of scrutiny. Nice idea even, but Id be stunned if she wanted to give anybody a reason to talk about her diabetes. Kinda doubt it.

The only problem with Gabby's suggestion re: talking to the teacher, is the entire situation demands LaurenFaith do so as an EQUAL of the teacher, as a fully grown adult woman.

The difference in power, the current situation is entirely unequal for Lauren. The teacher has made an unacceptable "suggestion", which must not stand.

I suspect she is going to require adult allies to turn this into something she is content with.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-09 14:47:51 -0600 Report

Sweets, thanks for your input. Nearly all schools have a school nurse where she can go to take care of her needs.
depending on how far she is from the health suite, she can still use a bathroom if needed.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-08 19:19:56 -0600 Report

In my own opinion, it is his classroom and if he asked you to go to the restroom to give a shot or test, then you have to respect his wishes. There are people who faint when they see a needle and can't stand the site of blood.. He may be grossed out seeing that. You classmates could also have a problem with it. They just more than likely have not said anything because they don't know how.

I was in a restaurant not long ago with a friend when a man pulled out his test kit and was about to test himself at the table and the owner asked him to do that in the bathroom. He got upset and said the same thing you said. A lady at the next table told him the site of blood makes her ill and she felt he was being disrespectful to those around him. The manager said what if you prick your finger and it continues to bleed? What if you get it on the table cloth and the napkins? We now have to handle the linens as a bio-hazard. He got up and went to the bathroom and tested. He also apologized to the lady next to him. The owner asked him what specialty on the menu he could have and the man told him. He came out with the order and comped it and told the man thank you for being understanding and I didn't mean to offend you. Smiles all around.

You are the one being disrespectful of those around you. If you are not experiencing a drastic low, why can't you leave the class, take your shot and test and quietly return to the classroom. .

Stuart1966 2014-11-10 22:33:05 -0600 Report

Hello Joyce:

Lauren's not being anything remotely disrespectful in any manner, on any level. She does not wish to go. nor should she!

Stupid things done in the past, does not mean we should continue the precedent.

Why on earth should she or anybody else be compelled to leave? Forcing her against her will… required by a person in power. Please make a case?

A young person explaining her situation this clearly, is stunning, and clearly the actions of a young woman, an adult in all but name period. Yet because of their differences in power, Lauren is at a severe disadvantage unless she is ready for the role.

Type1Lou 2014-11-08 11:09:05 -0600 Report

Wow! What an intolerant (and ignorant?) person…and what kind of role model is he providing for your fellow students? How comfortable do you feel escalating your concerns to school administrators or to the school board? This teacher needs some additional sensitivity/tolerance training IMHO.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-08 19:37:55 -0600 Report

I don't think he was being intolerant or ignorant. He has a right to tell her he thinks it is gross seeing that. He may have used a poor choice of words but he wasn't being intolerant or ignorant. He could have fainted at the site of the a needle or blood and injured himself. The same could have happened with a student in the classroom. There are people who fear needles and can't stand the site of blood. If she tested and her finger continued to bleed. They would have had to clean the classroom.

What happens if a student complains to their parents about her testing her blood? What happens if she gets blood on someone? Being a diabetic does not mean that you HAVE to test in a classroom, in a meeting or anywhere else people can see it. Respect is a two way street. She has to be respectful also.

The classroom is controlled by the teacher and if he is grossed out by seeing her test, he has every right to ask her to leave the room to test. Look at this another way. You are sitting in a meeting with staff members and your boss. You pull out your insulin to give yourself a shot or your test kit to test your blood. Suppose you boss said, please don't do that here, I can't stand the site of needles and someone else says I can't stand the site of blood. Would you say they were being disrespectful to you? Would you tell your boss he needs some additional sensitivity/tolerance training?

Blood is a bio-hazard and if you get it on someone or something, it has to be handled as such. These days people fear Ebola and no one knows if you have HIV/AIDS or any other blood born illness. You have to be just as respectful of others as anyone else and considerate of other people.

If I were afraid of needles or blood and I couldn't stand to see someone give someone a shot, I would ask you to leave the room I am in also. Is that being disrespectful especially if it is in my house, classroom or office?

Type1Lou 2014-11-09 14:42:00 -0600 Report

I choose to respectfully disagree with your position on this Joyce. IMO, testing and injecting today can be done in a very unobtrusive manner and those who are bothered by needles or blood need not look. By going to the bathroom to test, there is no guarantee that you might not leave some blood on a surface there that could "contaminate" others. Once again, let's agree that we disagree.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-09 14:55:43 -0600 Report

in your own words "Wow! What an intolerant (and ignorant?) person" I never thought you would be intolerant or ignorant of other peoples needs.

Since you really didn't address the other question, I will ask this. If your boss asked you not to do that while sitting in a meeting with co-workers, would you say to him/her "don't look"?

We can agree to disagree but she is still being disrespectful and does not have the right to disrupt the class because she needs to test. Someone will notice her doing this. Were I her teacher, I would have asked to leave the room to do this out of respect to her fellow classmates. If she refused she would be sent to the office, not because she is diabetic but because her actions is disruptive to the some of the students in the class. She DOES NOT have the right to do that.

Leaving blood in a bathroom is less disruptive to the class than leaving blood on the desk or floor. You talk about tolerance, you also have to be tolerant of those who don't wish to see this and not looking is not always an option.

Type1Lou 2014-11-09 16:17:13 -0600 Report

I can only respond with my experience. When I was working, I would discretely test my blood sugar before every meal and nobody ever objected. I never had a boss request that I take my testing or injections "elsewhere"…I guess they were more accepting and yes, tolerant. If you don't make a "big deal" about testing, most people around you don't even know you're doing it. Ditto with injecting (with an insulin pen—-syringes and vials do make it harder to be unobtrusive.) And with pumps, there is no needle to be seen. I don't think diabetics should be stigmatized for doing what is necessary to stay healthy and in control. Would you ask an asthmatic not to use their inhaler because it upsets your sensibilities? I maintain that this teacher's approach (as a former teacher myself, albeit years ago) provided a poor role model for tolerance and acceptance.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-09 16:39:48 -0600 Report

People expect teachers to teach tolerance and respect. That should be done at home by parents. If someone ask you not to do something because they think it is gross or is offensive and you continue to do it, then you are the disrespectful person.

She needs to understand that not everyone is going to want to see her do this which means she ALSO has to respect their wishes.

LaurenFaith 2014-11-08 14:53:28 -0600 Report

I'm okay with making a fuss… I just have to still deal with him for the rest of the year, so I would rather not have him hate/dislike me for this. Especially since I'll have to go to him for help a lot.

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-11-08 05:53:59 -0600 Report

Explain to him that the skin is the 1st layer of protection between the outside world and your internal organs and that you would prefer to not compromise that barrier in the same place where people urinate and defecate. Anybodies health trumps anyone elses hurt feelings.