NOTE: Joe does not have a Chromebook Confiscation history.
I knew, over the years, we'd run into difficulties of not being understood. Sure. We all deal with that in our day-in-the-life. I guess I didn't think I'd be saying things like this to an educator: 'Not only is his access to his school day limited by treating and waiting out lows, but to take away his Chromebook for the remainder of the school day, because of his medical condition... limits his access further.' My voice was measured. My temper in check.
The blood sugar checking, the carb counting, and the insulin dosing are one thing. Sure, at times, the numbers cause physical discomfort. Yes, the management, the needles hurt. The thing about diabetes is... the actual disease and the management are so enmeshed and interconnected throughout our days and our nights that it is impacted by just about everything; also, it impacts just about everything.
About a month ago...
Joe experienced a school day riddled with lows; blood sugars hovered from the 50's to the 70's. He spent some time in the Health Office, but for the most part he remained in the classroom. At one point in his day, he left his Chromebook in a hallway. He forgot it as he was dealing with another low. The Chromebook was confiscated for the remainder of the school day. It was confiscated because it was unattended.
At the end of the school day, Joe visited the Chromebook Confiscator and let him know he had a medical issue that caused the infraction leading to the "confiscation". The Chromebook Confiscator made Joe promise it would not happen again. Joe promised. His Chromebook was given back to him.
Within a week's time...a week where lows were plaguing his days and nights...again, the Chromebook was confiscated by the Chromebook Confiscator. Joe went to gym class. He placed his binder and his Chromebook on a bench in the locker room; not in his locker like the students have been instructed to do. You see, he was nervous about going low during gym. The shakiness of his hands make maneuvering a combination lock challenging; making access to his belongings quite difficult. Even if a low was treated, it could take 15 to 20 minutes for him to feel better, for the shakiness to subside. Joe did end up low. His Chromebook, gone from the locker room bench...taken away for the rest of the school day.
So, it is at this point... at Chromebook Confiscation #2 that I stepped in. Joe needed an advocate. He was missing class due to managing low blood sugars AND the only mechanism to access his work electronically, at school, was being taken away from him. It was being taken away from him because of diabetes, none-the-less.
I spoke with the Chromebook Confiscator. I explained Joe's medical condition. I explained how low blood sugars can impact executive functioning. I explained when he feels low, he needs to treat the low promptly. The Chromebook Confiscator's solution was when Joe feels low, he could walk his Chromebook to his locker and then treat the low. Tears, while not yet visible, could be heard in my voice. 'You aren't understanding me. He should not have extra steps added into his routine when he feels low. He needs to treat the low...not walk to a locker...unlock a locker...and place his Chromebook in the locker.'
So, then the Chromebook Confiscator proposed, Joe not even have a Chromebook. He proposed a desktop be provided for Joe in each classroom he attends: Math, Social Studies, Spanish, English, Science...I explained firmly, this was not an option. Not only was the proposal just plain wrong, but hey...let's make Joe feel even MORE different... he has a pump, a CGM, sees the nurse multiple times daily...oh and let's add ... there's the kid who has to use the desktop computer in FIVE different classrooms. Awesome. Ugh. The conversation left me feeling alone, misunderstood, and questioning myself. Am I asking too much? Am I over-complicating things? It also left me feeling a bit sorry for Joe and for myself. Why can't things just be easy? This life, of managing t1d, is difficult enough.
In the end, Joe's School Nurse and the Principal met. A sticker was placed on Joe's Chromebook that states something like "If found, return to the Nurse."
The Chromebook Confiscator disrupting our day-in-the-life.