Sunday, October 16, 2005

An Education Farce

The so-called adults in charge at the Tempe Union High School District finally pulled their heads out of their butts to do the right thing.

Why did it take so long?

The District had a rule on its books that forbade students from carrying needles. The rule, obviously established by someone with a higher pay grade than IQ, required that all students who had a need for needles to keep them in the Nurse's office. This policy presumably put a stop to students shooting up Heroin in the hallways. Or something like that.

And like any rule imposed by mindless bureaucrats, it was mindlessly implemented.

I also won't ask how it is that the very people who are entrusted with teaching our youth how to think seem so incapable of doing so themselves.

So along comes student Alex Lagman, 17 and a long-term diabetic. Alex keeps his diabetes under control through extensive monitoring. To do this he carries a small kit, not unlike my own, that contains a blood sugar testing monitor, test strips and a small device to poke a small hole in a fingertip in order to draw a few drops of blood.

The lancets in my kit have a solid needle point that is all of an eighth of an inch long. As Alex's mother notes, a thumbtack has a longer point.

So the genius educators decided that Alex's testing kit represented a grave danger to society as we know it, and that he must keep the kit in the nurse's office along with all other dangerous needled. No word yet on whether all thumbtacks and staples are kept there as well.

Stupidity, they name is Education. So Alex is expected, several times a day, to leave his classroom and traipse down to the nurse's office in order to do his testing. What if the nurse is not in? Tough luck Alex, you just have to wait. No problem, though, the paramedics are just a few minutes away, and they can get you out of shock and feeling well by this time tomorrow. After all, the Tempe Union High School District has rules.

Or should we say, may soon have fewer stupid rules.

It took a lawsuit (PDF) from the Arizona Center for Disability Law in order to get these educator's brains back in gear, and once these mental midgets actually started to think, it took the district board less than 15 minutes to approve a settlement (PDF) that allows Alex (and presumably other diabetic students) to carry their test kits with them while students.

The District shall permit the Student to carry his glucose meter on school grounds and at school functions throughout the time he is a student within the district.

The District agrees to provide students, staff and parents with access to the following information: "Students with diabetes will be permitted to have immediate access to blood glucose testing equipment and to carry the equipment with them at all times if those accommodations are medically necessary based upon appropriate documentation. In such situations, students shall not be subject to discipline for carrying their equipment on school grounds or at school functions."

The little exercise in educational excellence cost us – the homeowners – some $5,000. Remember that at election time.

1 comment:

Ron said...

We had the same rule at my high school, until a diabetic student whose parents (a surgeon and lawyer) told the principal that she was out of her mind. I think one parent gave examples as to why the kid needed to carry the stuff around and the other parent threatened to sue if the rule was not changed.