Published January 14, 2015
For most fourth graders, their school day consists of reading, writing, math, science and social studies lessons. But for some students at a Texas elementary school, their curriculum also included giving their diabetic teacher insulin shots with a hypodermic needle.
Pauline Villarreal, whose 9-year-old daughter is a student at De Leon Elementary School, in De Leon, Texas, said she was outraged when her daughter told her in December that her teacher, Jody Janek, was allowing students to inject insulin into her stomach.
“I just saw red flags going all over my head,” she told the Abilene Reporter News. “No gloves. No parent consent. No lesson plan. It’s OK for the kids to think they can play with a needle. What if kids are walking down the street and find a syringe? They will think, ‘My teacher taught me how to do this,’ and stick it in their brother.”
According to the report, Janek has been allowing her students to volunteer to administer her shots for sometime — a move that has left both parents and the small community divided.
“I personally don’t have a problem with it,” Jamie Ballenger, whose son volunteered to give Janek insulin shots last year, told the newspaper.
Ballenger, who has leukemia, credits Janek for making her son feel comfortable administering her shots.
“He knows how to do it because she taught them about it,” she said. “I think it’s not only helping her, but it’s helping others.”
Even though some feel this “lesson” is helping others, doctors said there are real risks associated with what Janek is practicing in her classroom.
“The biggest risk is infection,” Dr. Dalilah Restrepo, an infectious disease physician from St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City told FoxNews.com. “That’s because sterile techniques are not going to be optimal with someone who is not properly trained in giving injections.”
And Restrepo said that’s just one risk factor.
“The other big thing is the dose of the insulin, which I’m sure the teacher is monitoring, but insulin can be deadly if given in a higher dose than necessary.”
With 9-year-old’s handling hypodermic needles, Restrepo said there’s also the potential for someone to accidentally get pricked.
“There is a theoretical risk of transmitting blood-borne infection through a needle prick if the needle is not disposed of properly,” she said. “Even though there’s not a lot of blood when someone does an injection in the abdomen — there is still a risk.”
In order to dispose of a needle properly, Restrepo said it needs to be deposited into a sharps collector, which is a plastic container used for discarding medical waste including hypodermic needles.
Calls made to Janek, De Leon Elementary Principal Judd Gibson and De Leon Independent School District Superintendent Randy Mohundro were not returned to FoxNews.com.