Cameron-5th grade (diabetic with celiac) son emergency expelled ---- I am so very upset-please help

this is my first time here, so forgive me if its a novel! ;)

Last Wednesday, my child's principal called and stated Cameron had "intentionally stolen" another students diabetic meter  the day before, took it home and tested his sugars with it several times. she was very persistent with telling me "there is no  way he could have gotten hold of it and was positive he took it intentionally."  She told me it was a "major health risk"  because he used the other students poker (wouldn't that put MY child at risk?) and that she needed to speak with the other parent and her superiors before deciding what course of action they would take as far as punishment for Cameron. As I picked up my kids from school, the principal came to my vehicle and told me Cameron was being "Emergency Expelled effective immidiately"  meaning he is no longer allowed on school property) and that their would be a meeting to discuss alternative options.

after talking with my son, I knew right away that he DID NOT intentionally take the other students meter. he did not see the meter in his bag until dinner when he went to test. The meter was exactly like his old meter, and Cameron figured i put it in his bag,  he didn't even think about it- tested at dinner, bed & breakfast (with HIS poker and the meter that was in HIS bag, thinking it was his). At lunchtime  the nurse and principal asked Cameron where his meter was and he pointed to the other child's meter on the counter..they corrected him and told him it was another child's, and than proceeded to accuse him of stealing it on purpose. My son tried to tell his side of the story but they kept saying things like "Cameron, why did you steal it?" "we didn't do it, so you must have"  my son (who's 11) even started crying and told them he thought it was his, they than let him back to class and that is when i received the call from the school. when they told me that he indefinitely stole it, i assumed they had some kind of proof, not only did they have none, but they didn't even listen to my child.

a few days later i get a letter in the mail outlining their decision.  "This action is being taken because of ongoing safety issues concerning Cameron's management of his diabetes. Additionally Cameron's recent behavior has endangered other students." After reading this I was a bit confused, because i was told he was being expelled for "stealing" and  "creating a health risk for another student", which has nothing to do with his diabetes but would be more of a  a "behavioral issue" .  I called the principal and asked her to explain the very vague explanation they had for revoking my child's right to an education. I asked her to explain what she meant by "ongoing safety issues" since i had not been made aware of any new issues until the expulsion, which i believe to be 100% wrong for my child. I believe my child did nothing wrong, and it is them who are refusing to take  responsibility, and that really sets a bad example as a role model for an entire school of children.

part of me feels like maybe all of this might be retaliation against an issue i expressed via email on 4/21/10 about the school requiring parents to attend field trips and disallowing a diabetic child to go because a parent is not available and my  understanding of the laws regarding discrimination and field trip requirements and such.- the field trip was the day after he was expelled, I'm not sure they have anything to do with the other but it would make more sense, because all of this is just insane!

 I am working with my local ADA office and have been referred to the ADA's legal advocacy program.

PS- We re-located our family back to this school district after a year long nightmare in another district, . and although we couldn't find a home in the same school, we chose to transport them every day to THIS school every day just so Cameron could attend the school that we all once considered a blessing. but unfortunately the principal and nurse were replaced over that summer and it seems we went from bad to worse.

it sounds like you are following the right steps (talking to the ADA and legal advisors).

i'm sorry i can't offer any advice as i don't have any legal experience whatsoever. i'm sure the ADA can help you with both the expulsion and the field trip issue.

i wish you the best of luck and hope things turn around and go well for you and your child. please keep us informed of the progress, and continue to reach out to us with questions. we are more than happy to offer support and advice when we can. that's what we're here for.

best wishes!

thank you for your support and kind words, i am excited to finally relate to others personally affected by type 1.

take care.


Wow, reading this I probably got just as angry as you. You're going the right direction by pursuing legal action, it is unjust and unfair.  It's so sad that he has to face this so young, where he cannot make a stand for himself. Teachers, nurses, administrators and anyone else in the school system should strive to help every child feel like he or she has a safe place in that school no matter what they may face beyond the classroom, they should never, ever exploit a child for something they cannot control.  Good luck with your pursuit, were all behind you.

My blood would be boiling! Sounds like you are doing the right thing.

Do you know anything about the other child or the other child's family?  Is their reaction to the situation prompting the decisions being made by the principal? I'm just wondering what their involvement is - do they know how extreme you son is being punished? Do they know your son's side of the story? etc... Could you speak with them directly outside of school?

Secondly I'm not clear on where the meters were when your son accidently picked up the other child's meter?  Did the other child accidently put it in your son's backpack?  Did the other child end up with your son's meter or did your son accidently come home with two meters?

As far as the reasons given to you  - they are confusing and I would be questioning them also.  A principal should have adequate writing skills to word things precisely and consistantly.  So to give different reasons at different times is not acceptable. 

I do not have a legal background but you have several strong points to argue and persue a lawsuit against the school district.

1.) The interrogation methods, they did not allow the "suspect" to give his side of the story and used methods and means that law enforcement would not be able to use. 

2.) You can bring his old meter and show to them that he did have a meter just like the one in question, and being 11 years old it is easy to get confused on which one to use. I am 30 years old and have a hard time telling my 2 or 3 meters apart sometimes!

3.) They would need to prove that he "created a helath risk for another student". How and what put the other student at risk. Per what you said he used his own lancet device, and the meter, so the other student's lancet never entered his body. Using a stip does not put the student at risk. Even if there was a drop of blood left on the meter by your son, the possibilities of creating a health risk are slim to nil once the blood dries. Once the other student got their meter back they should have changed the lancet, and if the parents and school administrators were that concerned they could have cleaned the meter and the case with alcohol to kill any blood borne pathogens. 

4.) Like point 3, they would need to document the "behavioral issues". I don't want to jump to conclusions but did he have episodes where he acted up in class, threw things around, injured or hurt other students? Because of point 3 and 4, if they can not document or support their positions they can not expelled.

5.) Field trips, this seems really weird that a diabetic student can not go on a field trip without a parent. Did the other student get to go on the field trip without their parent. Why doesn't this make since, well if the teacher is qualified enough to be in charge of the child 6-8 hours a day for 8 or 9 months a year, why can they not be qualified enough to watch over the child on a field trip? If it is that serious, the child can be paired up with the teacher on this field trip. The district would be required to show state or federal laws allowing this kind of discrimination for it to be legal. They can not show, or present as evidence district policies that allow such behavior.

Again I do not have a legal background, but feel these are all great points to bring up to the principal, superintendent, and all of the board of education which I would include all in your reply emails and/or mailed appeals. Be sure to include if sending via regular mail the original expelling document from the school.

What state, and what school district do you live in and your son attend school in? I would like to know and see what kind of laws I can dig up that would support your (our) position. 

I do not have any advice for you -- just seems very wrong that they would do this without even holding a meeting with you.  I am glad that you are following up with the ADA.   Have their been other issues? It seems like they are way overreacting --and uninformed about the field trip options.  Hoping things get resolved soon - give your son a hug this must be so hard for him.   Hugs for you too!

sorry to reply this late to your post. i hope that things have worked out for you and your son. however, it that has not happened, i would suggest to you that you contact Sean Hannity and/or Bill O'Reilly at FoxNews.

Political leanings aside, when it comes to a child being wronged, they will be your biggest advocates. Nothing like getting on nationwide tv to make a point.  I know this first hand as 3 years ago there was a situation in my son's school.  After airing our complaints on Hannity's show, the situation was rectified almost immediately.

Good luck, Lori Weisman

I don't have anything different to add.  Everyone else pretty much said everything I was thinking.  I could feel my face getting red as I kept reading year story.  I wish you and your family much luck in getting justice and more importantly have the school have alittle understanding and compassion.  It was obviously an accident with the meter and I still very irritated that they think it is a health hazard for the other kid it your son used his lancet.  That seems like the easiest fix out of everthing.  JUST CHANGE THE NEEDLE!  Has the other kid's parents come to your defense or are they siding with the school?