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Fast Click to Diabetes Legal Information

Federal & State Laws Protecting Children & Adults with Diabetes in:

Public Schools
Private Schools
Daycare Centers
Colleges & Universities

Other Legal Information

Diabetes Discrimination & Legal Resources

Insurance Laws

Laws & Policies for Traveling with Diabetes

Diabetes Legal Headline News

Research & Ethics Laws

Have a question about diabetes discrimination?

Post your question to IOH's "Ask the Lawyer" Jeffrey I. Ehrlich; father of a child with type 1 diabetes, and an appellate attorney specializing in diabetes discrimination legal issues.


Children with Diabetes Sues CA School Districts for Denial of Glucose Monitoring and Insulin Administration At Schools

“(OCTOBER 11, 2005, Oakland, CA) - Four elementary school-age students, along with the American Diabetes Association, filed an unprecedented civil rights complaint today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking class action relief against the California Superintendent of Public Schools, the California Department of Education, members of the California Board of Education, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, the Fremont Unified School District, and their Superintendents and Boards of Trustees. The suit asks the Court to compel public school officials to comply with federal law by providing the assistance that California students with diabetes require to manage their diabetes during the school day.

"The complaint alleges that the state and the local districts violate Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and applicable federal regulations in their failure to ensure the health and safety of public school students with diabetes in Kindergarten through 12th Grade by providing insulin administration, blood glucose monitoring, proper care in emergency situations, and other appropriate diabetes care.”

For more information, contact:

Julia Epstein, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, (510) 644-2555 (x. 241)
Peter Greenley, Reed Smith LLP, (415) 659-5669
Zach Goldberg, American Diabetes Association, (703) 549-1500 (x. 2622)

Great News for South Carolina's Children with Diabetes!

New law allows students to carry their own medicines:  Medication won’t require a visit to the school nurse By DEVON MARROW.  S.C. children suffering from chronic illnesses soon will be able to carry relief in their pockets.  

A new law slowly making its way into South Carolina’s classrooms allows children who suffer from such illnesses as asthma and diabetes to carry and administer their own medicines. ... Lexington 4 is the first school district in the Midlands to officially revise its policy to include the 4-month-old legislation. Until now, most school districts have required that only school personnel, usually nurses, give medicines to students.  ... For 8-year-old Trevor Collins, having diabetes means an insulin shot in the morning and evening. ... As a Frances F. Mack Primary School student, the second-grader also needs to check his blood sugar level before he joins his classmates for lunch...  The, December 9, 2005.

Diabetes Fact Sheet for Child Nutrition Professionals

Federal laws may require that schools and day care facilities participating in the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs accommodate children with medical conditions such as diabetes. Regardless of the law, knowledgeable school staff are essential in providing a safe school environment for children with diabetes. Here are some key points to keep in mind. Retain all diet prescriptions on file. Diet prescriptions should only be changed by the physician or appropriate health professional.


diabetes legal information education and daycare facility laws

Federal and State Laws Protecting Children with Diabetes
in Public Schools

       State Law - Public Schools

California - Law permits testing glucose in any part of a public school, including classrooms.  AB 942 Emergency Medical Services: Diabetes (Stats. 2003, Chapter 684) (page 45).  Also, see the California Diabetes Program.  (.pdf file download)

States with better protective laws for children (whether or not schools abide by these laws) are:

California* (Cal Ed Code Section 49414.5 (2005)); Connecticut  (Chap 170 Section 10-220j (2004)); Hawaii  (HB 1550 (2005)); Kentucky (HB88 (2005)); Massachusetts; Montana; North Carolina (N.C. Gen. State Chapter 115C-12(31)); Oregon (Chapter  433.825 (2003)); South Carolina; Tennessee  (TN Code Ann Chapter 49-5-415 (2004)); Texas; Virginia; Washington (Rev. Code Wash. Title 28A.210.330 (2005)); Wisconsin.

* California schools are notorious for not adhering to state and federal law.  Also, CA state law currently prohibits anyone but a registered nurse from giving insulin via an insulin pump to a child, or, from supervising a child on an insulin who self-administers insulin.  Either the child will have to perform this function under the direct supervision of a nurse (few California schools have a nurse on-site), or do so without adult supervison.  Working parents either have to come to school to give insulin or resort to dangerous care tactics including calculating and prorgramming an extended bolus to cover anticipated snacks and meals in advance. Not all pumps even have this feature.

Nevada – (03/16/2005) The Nevada State Nursing Board recently agreed to permit registered nurses to delegate additional aspects of diabetes care to other non-medical school officials.  These designated “qualified persons” can now administer glucagon during an emergency after receiving proper training.  This adds to the list of diabetes care non-medical school officials were previsouly permitted to perform:  glucose testing, ketone testing, calculating and monitoring self-administration of insulin via syrninge, pen, or insulin pump.

Individual State Law Information

This section page is still under development.  Thank you for your patience.

Alabama * Alaska * Arizona * Arkansas * California * Colorado * Connecticut * Delaware * District of Columbia * Florida * Georgia * Hawaii * Idaho * Illinois * Indiana * Iowa * Kansas * Kentucky * Louisiana * Maine * Maryland * Massachusetts * Michigan * Minnesota * Mississippi * Missouri * Montana * Nebraska * Nevada * New Hampshire * New Jersey * New Mexico * New York * North Carolina * North Dakota * Ohio * Oklahoma * Oregon * Pennsylvania * Rhode Island * South Carolina * South Dakota * Tennessee * Texas * Utah * Vermont * Virginia * Washington (State) * Washington, DC * West Virginia * Wisconsin * Wyoming

Education Laws & Information

Federal Laws - Understanding your                 
Child's Rights
in Public Schools

Section 504

Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits schools and child care facilities (as well as many other institutions and businesses) the receive federal funds from discriminating against people on the basis of disability, and this does include private schools.

According to Wright's Law:  

    Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 ensures that the child with a disability has equal access to an education. The child may receive accommodations and modifications.

    Unlike the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 does not require the school to provide an individualized educational program (IEP) that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and provides the child with educational benefit. Fewer procedural safeguards are available for disabled children and their parents under Section 504 than under IDEA.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans With Disabilities Act is also a civil rights law that protects students with disabilities, including those with diabetes.  This law protects students in both public and private school settings --  unless the school is run by a religious entity." Courts have found that children with diabetes are covered by BOTH the ADA and Section 504 laws.

Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The IDEA is the federal law that funds special education services for children with disabilities.  According to Francine Ratner Kaufman, MD, head of the division of endocrinology and metabolism at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, in order to qualify under the IDEA, "a student's diabetes must impair his or her ability to learn so that the student requires special education."  Children with diabetes may suffer cognitive problems when blood glucose levels are either too high or too low. They may benefit from simple accommodations like not having to take tests when glucose levels are abnormal, or being permitted to have a snack during long exams.

Links for learning more about education and the law:

American Diabetes Association (ADA)
Children With Diabetes (CWD)
Diabetes Spectrum
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
Kid's Health For Parents

  Federal Laws:  Protecting Your Child with Diabetes at School?

Federal law does make provision for children with (disabilities) diabetes but individual states have laws that are not in the best interest of children with diabetes in the public school system.  These laws restrict who can provide are to a diabetic child.  The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has made it their goal to see more states follow the practice of using only registered nurses for administering diabetes care.  Some states do have better laws for our children (below) and more states may follow soon, in part, due to the tremendous effort by organizations like the American Diabetes Association (ADA).  Unfortunately, even when laws exist they still may not be not adhered to.  California, where I reside, is no exception to harboring schools that blatantly defy protective law. 

Even when educational law and policy seems favorable, it is ignored by many individual schools and school districts to the detriment of our children.  These public schools are required to take children with diabetes, but they make the experience so difficult and even dangerous that parents often have little choice but to home school or find other alternatives.  The IOH is concerned about the safety of diabetic children in school and would like to hear about your own negative experiences – as well as positive ones.  We can’t name the bad schools but we can being a list of schools that are diabetes friendly.  Email us with your school story.

Even though federal laws already provide protection for children with disabilities, some state laws limit what non-medical personnel can do to help a student with diabetes. The Association is working in several states to pass laws to make sure that there are trained school personnel available to provide assistance to students with diabetes and that laws and rules are applied consistently throughout the state.

Patient Discrimination Information of Interest to Medical Professionals

Physicians, you carefully write out a diabetes care plan for school for your patient.  But what if the school does not comply with your instructions? Read the article, "What to do if you think your patient is being discriminated against, Diabetes Spectrum 15:217-221, 2002 "The Role of Diabetes Health Care Professionals in Diabetes Discrimination Issues at Work and School, by Shereen Arent, JD.  Also published in The Diabetes Educator (28:1021–1027, 2002) reflects the collaborative efforts of the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators in the area of legal advocacy.  

Tools for Schools

The National Diabetes Education Program's "Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel" is an excellent resource for schools.

The American Diabetes Association has a position statement on Care of Children with Diabetes in the School and Day Care Setting.

P.E.D.S. School Staff Action Tools, including the Individualized Healthcare Plan, procedures, resources and school staff action tools. 

American School Health Association

National Association of School Nurses

The American Diabetes Association has a position statement on Care of Children with Diabetes in the School and Day Care Setting.

American School Health Association

National Association of School Nurses

My Child Has



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Page Updated 05/29/2006