Recent coverage on Yahoo! Parenting and in The New York Times has drawn attention to schools that are failing to provide type 1 diabetes care and management. These articles provided numerous examples of states and schools with ongoing issues, plus statistical information about incidences of type 1 diabetes among children.
Unfortunately, many students face discrimination because of their diabetes. The goal of the American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School campaign is for school to be a safe—and a fair—place for every child with diabetes. The campaign’s progress can be counted in the federal enforcement of civil rights laws; statewide laws and policies protecting students with diabetes in most states; educational materials for parents, school personnel and health care professionals; and the individual assistance the Association provides to families every day. These success stories, examples of which are found below, bring faces and names to the Association’s Safe at School campaign.
“Things have come a long way since the first school diabetes care legislation was passed in Virginia in 1999,” Crystal Jackson, the Association’s Safe at School director, says. “However, we still hear from lots of families of children with diabetes who continue to face school diabetes management problems. I hope parents, and other loved ones of people with diabetes, read these articles and learn unfair treatment like this is illegal. I hope they know they can call us at 1-800-DIABETES for help.”
Over the last year the Association has highlighted Safe at School victories right here on our blog. “Your Rights, Once Voice” is a series of monthly posts that explain cases where the Association stepped in to help fight discrimination.
Your Rights, One Voice
- Three-year-old Micaiah attended a local Head Start program in Yamhill County, Oregon. The school had a medical care policy that they felt did not allow them to care for his type 1 diabetes. This meant Micaiah could not attend school without a parent there to provide care. His mom thought that didn’t seem fair—and she was right.
- Ella was all set for her school program. But the weekend before her first day, the school nurse called and said the school could not care for Ella because she has type 1. More than that, she stated the school was not required to do so.
- Nico’s school feared a lawsuit if any of its staff gave him his insulin shots, so his mother Jodi became his caregiver at school. She traveled from her home office to Nico’s school around noon each day to give him an insulin shot. And because nobody at the school was trained about diabetes care, Nico was also unable to participate in after-school programs and activities. This entire situation was frustrating for the family, and it seemed unfair to Nico.
- After learning about Marissa’s type 1 diagnosis, her school district said that she could not come back to the Head Start program. The family was told that the only way Marissa could attend was if they hired and paid for a nurse themselves. But that was simply not possible. So—just like that—Marissa was out of school and stuck at home.
The American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School campaign is dedicated to making sure that all children with diabetes are medically safe at school and have the same educational opportunities as their peers. To learn more, visit http://www.diabetes.org/sas.
To learn about state laws relevant to school diabetes management, please visit diabetes.org/kidswin.
For the full list of Safe at School blog posts, please click here.