Mom alleges discrimination after her daughter, 5, was kicked out of school for having diabetes

·4 min read

A mom from Wisconsin is accusing her child’s former private school of discrimination. She claims her 5-year-old daughter Kiley Eliason was asked to leave New Life Academy in Minnesota because of her Type 1 diabetes.

Emma Garvey claims her daughter Kiley was asked to leave the school due to her diabetes. (Credit: Emma Garvey)
Emma Garvey claims her daughter Kiley was asked to leave the school due to her diabetes. (Credit: Emma Garvey)

“My little girl has endured SO MUCH because of this disease. She has had her life and childhood taken away from her. She has had her health physically and emotionally taken from her,” the 25-year-old parent wrote on her Facebook Friday. “Now she has her school, her friends and especially the wonderful school nurse whom she has grown to love away from her.”

Kiley was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years ago, shortly after starting at New Life Academy in Woodbury. According to Garvey’s post, Kiley thrived at the pre-school for the first two years. However, during Kiley’s third year at the Christian school, she began struggling academically when she was pulled out of class more frequently due to highs and lows in her blood sugar. The kindergartner requires insulin doses administered by a trained adult before meals, snacks and during drastic changes in her blood sugar. Garvey also changes her daughter’s pump every 72 hours, ABC5 reports.

“When you live with a disease that could kill you at any moment — being taken out of class is the least of your problems,” Garvey tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Kiley Eliason’s mom changes her insulin pump changed every 72 hours. (Photo: Emma Garvey)
Kiley Eliason’s mom changes her insulin pump changed every 72 hours. (Photo: Emma Garvey)

According to the mom, the school nurse helping Kiley requested for one other staff member to be trained to treat the kindergartener in the event that she was occupied helping another student. The school administration allegedly responded with resistance.

“You couldn’t spend ANY of that money to train even ONE extra person on how to care for her in case of an emergency in order to keep her?” wrote a disgruntled Garvey, who added that the private school charges anywhere from $10,000 to $12,000 a year per student.

Shortly after the nurse raised questions about the school not providing the necessary resources for Kiley’s condition, Garvey was called into a meeting with the school’s principal in which she was told Kiley was no longer a “good fit” for New Life Academy. Despite asking to allow Kiley to finish out the school year, Garvey was apparently given only two weeks to find her a new school.

“Nobody wanted the responsibility of Kiley. They didn’t even try at ALL to find a way for her to stay,” Garvey says. “They just decided it would be easier if she left so that they wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore.”

Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to New Life Academy for a comment on Garvey’s allegations. The school released the following statement:

We are blessed to provide a Christ-centered learning environment for our students — ours is a community of caring.

New Life Academy provides services to students with various special health and learning needs. When we have the ability to provide the level of care and support that is needed for each child’s situation, we do so. When we do not have this ability, we refer them to schools that can provide the services needed.

Out of respect to the privacy of those involved and in accordance with the law, we cannot comment on a specific case without a parent’s permission to do so.

The school also noted that they requested Garvey sign a released so they could talk publicly about the incident, but she has apparently yet to do so.

Garvey says that after calling more than six public elementary schools in the surrounding area, she finally placed Kiley at Oakdale Elementary, the first school that would accept her in the middle of the school year. “[Kiley] is terrified. Nervous. Anxious. Afraid nobody will like her,” the Wisconsin mom wrote on her Facebook. “Watching my little girl cry her eyes out in the back of my car over this situation breaks me as a mom.”

Emma Garvey poses for a family photo with her daughter Kiley and her husband. (Credit: Emma Garvey)
Emma Garvey poses for a family photo with her daughter Kiley and her husband. (Credit: Emma Garvey)

Garvey hopes that by sharing her daughter’s story, she’ll raise awareness to the fact that “diabetics have SO MUCH on their plate as is.” She continues, “The fact that they also have to worry about whether or not people will see their worth rather than seeing them as a burden is so heart breaking. I just want to be a voice to those who haven’t spoken up.”

Adds Garvey, “If I can spare even one child from dealing with this then I have done my job.”

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