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From Alabama, USA:

I have a 5 year old daughter with Type 1 diabetes who has been in school for almost 3 weeks now. The teachers have been great up until today. Now they are claiming that they must have someone who is "trained" in order to check her sugar. My daughter only needs her sugar checked once each day, before lunch, and again if she has any symptoms of low blood sugar. I need some help with how to deal with the staff at the school. They are just not cooperating with us any more. My wife was told that she will have to come to the school to check her sugar.


See Diabetes in School for more information. Here is a synopsis:

The right of children with diabetes to care for their diabetes at school is based on the Individuals With Disability Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These laws provide protection against discrimination for children with disabilities, including diabetes. Parents can use these laws to ensure that, while at school, their children with diabetes can fully participate in all school activities, while at the same time caring for their medical needs. Any school that receives Federal funding must comply with IDEA and Section 504 laws. A child need not require special education to be protected.

If you are faced with a school that does not comply with your request for diabetes care for your child, you should first educate the school administration. Make sure they understand the laws and your child's needs.

Schools that still refuse to cooperate should be advised that you are requesting preparation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and a Section 504 Accommodation for your child. At this point, the school must meet with you to negotiate the special services that your child requires. You should begin with the following list of services:

  1. Perform blood glucose monitoring
  2. Treat hypoglycemia with emergency glucose
  3. Inject insulin when necessary
  4. Eat snacks when necessary
  5. Eat lunch at an appropriate time and have enough time to finish the meal
  6. Have free and unrestricted access to water and the bathroom
  7. Participate fully in physical education (gym class) and other extra-curricular activities, including field trips

If your school still refuses to comply, you should file a complaint with your state's department of education. This is the first step in the process of litigation against your school system.

Your child has a right to care for his or her diabetes at school. The scientific data are clear on the value of maintaining good glycemic control. Since there is no break from diabetes, there can be no break from the need to care for it. Time spent at school is no exception.


Original posting 14 Sep 97


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