Parents concerned school unable to care for diabetic children

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Some Chesterfield parents are outraged, saying a staffing change at Swift Creek Elementary School has put their children in a potentially deadly situation.

The parents say there is no one legally qualified to care for their diabetic children- and some parents have pulled their kids out of school.

Lily Waehner is a typical 7-year-old kid. She likes recess a lot, but not homework. But, Lily has diabetes and requires round-the-clock care to stay alive. Her parents say her primary caregiver left the school unexpectedly and the school doesn't have anyone in place properly trained to care for her now.

"It's not something you can just jump in and pick up with no training," explained her mother, Dr. Catherine Martin. "Which is why the law requires that there always be 2 fully trained people for just these types of incidents."

Martin says the school did not inform her family of the staffing change and she says now they don't have a safe back-up plan in place for her daughter's care.

"I spent all day, every day at school last week taking care of Lily and she had numerous emergencies that they were not equipped to treat," said Martin.

Lily's diabetes is so serious, that at 7, she knows she could die because of it.

"Imagine if you had diabetes and you were low and really, really hungry and about to faint, it would be a matter of life and death," Lily explained. "A lot of people try to mess around with that. Like nurses that don't know how to take care of you. If they do that wrong, they could like kill you in some way."

Lily's parents say they've spoken with numerous administrators with no progress made toward safe care for their daughter.

"There was absolutely no responsibility taken for any part of this," said Martin. "The 504 enforcement coordinator for the county did acknowledge it as a train wreck."

"We've been showing them here's the law," said Lily's dad Greg Waehner. "Here's all we're asking for and there is a constant and repeated failure to acknowledge the rules."

The manual for diabetic care is lengthy, but the family says it does require two trained caregivers at the school. Those caregivers must have very specific parameters of training- outlined by the Virginia Department of Education Policy.  

For Lily and her parents, it's not just an education on the line. It's her life.  

"It has been terrifying," said Martin. "We have been terrorized by this."

Lily's family wasn't the only one we spoke to for this story. We were also contacted by another family expressing similar concerns. Two families have decided to keep their child home- for safety reasons.

We have reached out to Chesterfield's school superintendent, two public information officers, the school principal as well as the district supervisor.

Just before this story aired, we did hear from Shawn Smith, a public information officer. Smith said he could not respond after 6 p.m. from home and that, "School division officials do not have documents at home necessary to respond to a sensitive medical inquiry."

He offered to give us a comment later, if we waited to do the story. We will update you if we hear more from the school or get more details in this report.

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