State anti-discrimination laws
States are permitted to establish laws, guidelines and policies provided they don’t conflict with federal law. Some states also have laws that may provide additional protections for students with diabetes. Therefore, it is necessary to be familiar with the rules that apply in your state.
Taking Action Against Discrimination
Diabetes does not have to interfere with your child having a positive school experience. Parents and schools have the same goal: to ensure that students are safe and that they are able to learn in a supportive environment.
If you are faced with a school that does not comply with ADA, Section 504 or IDEA you must first take the time to educate the school administration regarding the applicable laws to insure they understand the laws and your child’s needs.
If the school has been notified regarding a diagnosis of diabetes and verified, and that the student/parents have requested reasonable accommodations to deal with this medical issue, the school is required by law to make the approved modifications to allow the child to fully participate and benefit from all school activities and programs.
However, the school can refuse to grant a request for an accommodation that is not specifically documented. School personnel do not have the right to confidential medical information. They only need to know what needs to be done to guarantee equal opportunity for the student. Any individual member of school staff who fails to comply with the approved medical and education plan can be held personally liable.
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.
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.
Taking a little extra time to prepare and educate your child’s teachers will result in a safer and more effective learning experience.
Jameson, Paula L. ARNP MSN CDE Helping Students with Diabetes Thrive in School From “On the Cutting Edge”. Newsletter of the American Dietetic Association’s Diabetes Care and Education Practice Group. Summer 2006, pp.26-29.