You probably spend about 6 hours or more at school each day — more than one third
of your waking hours. If you have diabetes, chances are you'll need to check your
blood sugar levels
or give yourself an
injection during that time. So how do you deal with diabetes at school?
Talking to Teachers and School Staff
Maybe you just found out you have diabetes. Perhaps you've been living with it
for a while but switched to a new school. Your first step is to let school staff know.
Set up a meeting with your school principal's office. Your mom
or dad should be there, and you may want to suggest the school nurse join you.
Give your school nurse, teacher, and principal's office a copy of your
diabetes management plan. This plan talks about what you will need to do
during the school day, like test your blood sugar, give yourself injections, or eat
lunch at a certain time each day. Your diabetes management plan also contains contact
info for your doctors and diabetes
health care team, so the school will know how to get in touch if you're sick.
Some schools might work with you to create a special plan for managing your diabetes
at school. This may mean letting you eat lunch a little early or having a school nurse
help with insulin injections if you need it.
Tell your teachers. When your teachers know what needs to be done,
they can schedule time for you to do stuff like test your blood glucose levels or
get shots. Some teachers don't allow you to eat in class, which is why it's good to
let your teacher know what's going on.
Ask to meet your teacher before or after class to talk about what you might need
to do. If teachers know you have diabetes, they can watch for symptoms of diabetes
problems and can call for medical help if you need it.
Teachers are busy. You might need to remind them once in a while about what you
have to do to take care of your diabetes. If you have a substitute teacher, let him
or her know that you have diabetes and may need to do things like go to the bathroom
or get a snack.
If you feel uncomfortable talking to teachers or school staff about your diabetes,
write a note or letter that goes over what you'll need to do to take care of your
Get to know your school nurse. At many schools, students with
diabetes need to get their diabetes medicines or test blood sugar levels in the nurse's
office. Most schools won't let students carry needles or medicines with them. Don't
let that worry you, though. Even in an emergency, the extra time needed to get to
the school nurse won't cause a problem.
Taking Care of Diabetes at School
Keep a stock of medicines, testing equipment, and other supplies at school.
You'll need the same supplies and equipment that you use at home. You'll probably
need to keep these in the school nurse's office, but your school may want you to store
them somewhere else. Ask the principal's office what your school's policy is.
Keep a copy of your diabetes management plan with you. Even if
your school has your plan, it's good to keep one in your purse, backpack, locker,
or car as well. If you run into any diabetes problems at school or start having symptoms
, do what your plan tells you to do. That may mean having a snack, checking
, or heading to the nurse's office — whatever your plan says.
Prepare to handle different situations. What if the school nurse
isn't in? Is there someone else who can help? Who do you call if something unexpected
happens — your doctor or your parent? Which kinds of problems can wait until after
school and which ones should you handle right away?
Ask your doctor what you need to know about managing diabetes in school and how
to handle special situations. Write down what you should do and who you should go
to and keep this information with your management plan. Knowing what to do can help
you feel more confident if you do have a problem at school.
Talking to Friends and Classmates
It's your call whether you tell friends and classmates about your diabetes. If
they know, it can mean less worry for you about what they think when they see you
doing things like leaving class to go to the nurse's office for a blood sugar level
But what about teasing? Some kids will tease anyone who seems the slightest bit
different from anyone else. If this happens to you, you're definitely not alone: About
1 in 3 kids and teens with problems like diabetes have had to deal
What can you do when people tease you? Get your friends' help to remind people
that diabetes is no big deal. Ignoring a bully is a good strategy too. Bullies thrive
on the reaction they get, and if you walk away, you're telling the bully that you
just don't care. Sooner or later the bully will probably get bored with trying to
It may also help to talk to a guidance counselor, teacher, or friend — anyone who
can give you the support you need. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and
frustrations that can build when you're being bullied.
Whatever happens, though, don't try to hide your condition by skipping treatments
or eating foods that aren't on your meal
plan — it'll just make you feel worse and risk getting sick at school.