Ten-year-old Lauren Jess of Queen Creek, Ariz., has type 1 diabetes. Lauren attends the Kids Club, a community-based childcare program at her local school. The Kids Club was created as a safe, caring place for children aged 3 to12 to go before and after school and during the summer.
But the Higley Unified School District, which runs the Kids Club, did not allow program staff to be trained in diabetes care, even though free training was available. Because the staff had not been trained, Lauren was not able to participate in any of the program events that involved food and drink.
Lauren’s mother, Jan, was very unhappy about this.
Jan spoke with Anne Dennis, Director of Mission Delivery for the American Diabetes Association’s Phoenix office. At Anne’s suggestion, Jan contacted one of the Association’s Legal Advocates, a lawyer experienced with legal issues involving diabetes.
Jan explained that it was necessary for Kids Club program staff to be trained in diabetes care—especially to keep Lauren medically safe. Jan learned from the Legal Advocate that federal and state laws protect children with diabetes in these situations; Lauren had a legal right to attend and fully participate in the Kids Club. The Legal Advocate also gave Jan suggestions for how to speak about this with the program’s director.
After a lot of back-and-forth emails, in which the Kids Club staff initially refused to meet, Jan was finally able to meet with the club’s supervisor and the school’s director of community education. Jan knew that the law was on Lauren’s side. She was able to convince them to allow ALL Kids Club staff members to be trained on diabetes care.
“Thank you to everyone who helped to make this program truly safe for every child who has diabetes!” says Jan Jess. “Without the free legal guidance offered by the American Diabetes Association, this matter could have been ignored! But, it wasn’t ignored. This was a major step, not only for Lauren, but for other children with diabetes who need to attend the program.”
The American Diabetes Association leads the effort to prevent and eliminate discrimination against people with diabetes at school, at work and in other parts of daily life. If you need help, call 1-800-DIABETES or visit http://diabetes.org/gethelp.
Give the gift of fairness — donate now to help people with diabetes facing discrimination, just like Lauren: