The Knucklehead of the Day award
Goes to Richard Maline. He was a substitute teacher at East Ridge High School when during a class Mr. Maline heard a beeping sound. Going to the source of the sound or Cliffton Hassam the teacher thought it was the boy having a beeper and Mr. Maline removed it from Hassam. It was a diabeties monitoring device.
We had a similar incident in Palm Beach County a few years back. There the school asst prinicipal confiscated the monitor. In that case, the school board and the girl's family settle out of court. Here, Mr. Maline is no longer working for the school. For failing to think before acting, Richard Maline is today's Knucklehead of the day.
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CLERMONT -- Cliffton Hassam's blood sugar has returned to normal, but the shock has not worn off.The East Ridge High School junior said Wednesday he is still reeling after a substitute teacher mistook the student's insulin pump for a beeping cell phone and snatched it out of his hands Friday, detaching the tube regulating his blood sugar.
"The least he could have done is ask me," Cliffton said. "I'm just shocked. They should know my situation."
The school district fired the substitute teacher Friday afternoon.
"I have nothing to say," substitute teacher Richard Maline said when reached by phone Wednesday.
Cliffton, 16, said he has had Type 1 diabetes for 10 years. The pump he wears at his hip alerts him with a beep when his blood sugar reaches dangerous levels. A tube is connected to a catheter that goes beneath the skin on his thigh.
"It's my whole life on my side," he said. The square, neon-blue pump, which looks like a pager, began beeping in Cliffton's third-period reading class while the students were being rowdy, he said.
Maline demanded Cliffton give him the pump and took it when he refused, pulling out the tube that drips insulin into Cliffton's body.
Maline "is very remorseful for what he's done," said Russell Anderson, executive director of human resources for the Lake County school district. "Had he known that was a medical instrument, he would have not done that."
Maline retired from the New York City Police Department in July after 21 years, according to district personnel records. He had worked in the district since March and substituted at East Ridge 22 days.
"This was a grave mistake on the part of the teacher's judgment," Anderson said. "When we train our substitutes, that's one of the items we cover. We specifically train our substitutes on this particular device and explain to them that a diabetic pump can be mistaken for a cell phone."