Students with health problems struggle to maintain schoolwork

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Students with health problems struggle to maintain schoolwork

Staying focused while doing homework can be difficult, especially when checking your sugar levels frequently.

Staying focused while doing homework can be difficult, especially when checking your sugar levels frequently.

Staying focused while doing homework can be difficult, especially when checking your sugar levels frequently.

Staying focused while doing homework can be difficult, especially when checking your sugar levels frequently.

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Imagine missing school for a week straight. Taking a sick day because you don’t feel well leaves you a considerable amount of homework to do. Imagine having more than one sick day, not being able to do anything about it, and still be required to meet school deadlines and stay on top of your work. 

A lot of students at Northwest face this issue: staying healthy while staying competitive academically at the same time. 

Junior Benjamin Ramsey, a former Northwest football player, suffered a severe concussion at the beginning of his sophomore season. 

“I still get really bad migraines on a daily basis, I see spots and flashes, short term memory is very difficult,” he said, “anything that is memorization.” 

Suffering of Post Concussive Syndrome, Ramsey has missed a lot of school because of the severity of his trauma. He has had to work around his teachers schedules, do massive piles of makeup work, all while having a splitting headache. 

“Most of (my teachers) don’t know about it,” Ramsey said. 

Missing school has been an issue for all students that have some kind of health concern. Senior at Northwest, David Phillips, was admitted to the hospital for a length of his freshman  year. 

“I had two MRI’s and other tests,” Phillips said. “I didn’t find out until months later that they were testing for a possible brain tumor.” 

Phillips would miss school quite a bit, to the point where many of his friends didn’t think it was just skipping. 

“My teachers would be frustrated because I missed back to back weeks of school, and making up the work was just hard,” Phillips said. “I would have to come into tutoring whenever possible, my parents and I worked together so I could teach myself.” 

Phillips had to work outside of school with his parents daily in order to be caught up with all the work he had missed because of being at the hospital or at numerous doctor’s visits. 

Health for these students has become a big question mark: something unpredictable. Things can go wrong really quickly, and when it happens frequently like a chronic condition, it’s hard to stay on top of it.

Type one diabetes is another condition several kids at the school have, but others know very little about. 

“If my sugar is high, I can’t think, and so if I’m going to take a test, my sugar has to be below 150,” senior Madeline Lacopo said. “(Teachers) get frustrated sometimes, because they’re like, ‘You’re just trying to get more time so you can study’, that’s when I have to check my sugar and actually show them that it’s high and explain it to them. Even though most of them are really understanding.” 

Lacopo has sometimes been asked to leave the classroom to check her sugar because blood bothers other students, which takes away valuable learning time and isolates her from her class even further.

 “I’ve had come teachers who have not wanted me to be in the class because of my diabetes and have asked me to leave, but I understand,” Lacopo said. “I get really frustrated because it’s not something that I can really control at times, and I know they’re taking me out because they don’t want to get in trouble in case I pass out or something. But it’s not their disability, it’s mine.” 

Taking a lot of advanced classes can be difficult already; the seven-hour workdays, plus the hours of homework and the expectation of extracurriculars and other activities is draining. These students don’t need “special treatment”; they need to feel supported by their peers and staff when dealing with a disability.

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