NEWS

Parents say diabetic daughter in danger without classroom assistant

11/13/2014 08:10 EST | Updated 01/13/2015 05:59 EST
A Toronto mother says their daughter's life may be in danger unless the Toronto District School Board provides a special needs assistant in her classroom.

Emma Bleeman, aged four, has Type 1 diabetes and started Kindergarten in September. Her blood sugar must be monitored up to 10 times a day and she requires four daily insulin injections.

Emma's mother Dayna Bleeman told CBC News she's worried that a teacher in a class of 28 students won't be able to monitor her daughter's blood-sugar level.

"I'm terrified for my daughter's safety," she said. "My biggest concern is that her signs and symptoms are going to be missed and she's going to be unconscious in the corner of the classroom and no one is going to know."

The school appointed an interim special needs assistant at the start of the year to be with Emma in class until teachers felt comfortable they could meet all of Emma's needs.

TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said students with medical conditions don't typically qualify for a special needs assistant.

"Because it's a medical diagnosis, it's not something that would qualify for a special needs assistant," he said. "Those are typically reserved for students with special education needs."

Bird says school staff are aware of, and able to handle, Emma's diabetes.

"They receive special training to deal with anything that may come up when a student has diabetes or any other medical concern," said Bird.

The Bleemans, however, have retained a lawyer and say they will continue to fight the board's decision to not appoint a special needs assistant for their daughter.

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