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Teen Thrives At Diabetic-Friendly School

Rob Johnson Rob Johnson
Rob Johnson is the weekday anchor of the CBS 2 Chicago evening...
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(CBS) — Diabetes can be tough for a child: the testing and food monitoring. Sometimes, the problem is with the child’s school.

CBS 2’s Rob Johnson talks with one family that fought for years so that their daughter could take care of her diabetes and stay in the classroom.

Thirteen-year-old Katariena Leazer says for the first time she is able to manage her diabetes and not fall behind on her work.

Diagnosed at age 2 with Type 1 diabetes, Katariena is doing great at Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights.

Before coming here, she says it was a struggle dealing with her disease at school.

“A lot of time my sugars were high, so I would have to leave the class to take care of that,” she says.

Her mother, Karen Leazer, says one of her previous schools did not allow her daughter to test her blood sugar in class.

“She was spending a majority of her time running back and forth to the nurse’s office,” Karen says.

Her daughter was falling behind in the classroom.

“It’s been very difficult. This has been the first good year we’ve ever had,” she says.

Karen praises principal Brian Kaye for special diabetes training.

“The hardest part is making sure all of the staff know and understand what these kids are doing and why,” he says.

At this school, Katariena can test in class and even use a cell phone to text her mother for medication guidance. If she didn’t have the phone, “I probably would be down at the nurse’s office a lot, calling my mom,” she says.

“The attitude is totally different. They truly are like a model for other schools to follow,” her mom says.

During the tough years, she called the American Diabetes Association and learned what schools are required to do. The ADA helps guide parents and holds periodic “safe at school” training.