School Bill of Rights for Children with Diabetes
Children with diabetes require medical care to remain healthy. The need for medical care does not end while the child is at school. Thus, while at school, each child with diabetes must be allowed to:
- Do blood sugar checks
- Treat hypoglycemia with emergency sugar
- Inject insulin when necessary
- Eat snacks when necessary
- Eat lunch at an appropriate time and have enough time to finish the meal
- Have free and unrestricted access to water and the bathroom
- Participate fully in physical education (gym class) and other extracurricular activities, including field trips
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.
Taking Action Against Discrimination
If you are faced with a school that does not comply with the School Bill of Rights for Children with Diabetes, 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 entire list of services in the School Bill of Rights for Children with Diabetes.
If your school still refuses to comply with the School Bill of Rights for Children with Diabetes, 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 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.
For Additional Information
- Your School and Your Rights, from the American Diabetes Association, discusses the legal obligations of school systems under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, amended in 1991.
- The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) is a U.S. Government sponsored clearinghouse that provides information about disabilities, including information about obtaining assistance at school. Important information on their web site includes:
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997. President Clinton signed the bill into law on June 4, 1997.
- State Contact Sheets, with the names and contact information for state officials and education offices to which parents can turn for assistance.
- The US Department of Education web site includes:
- Education Administration Online publishes a newsletter on Inclusive Education Programs.
- The Department of Justice ADA Home Page has references to the law and related links.
- The DOJ ADA site also includes the KinderCare Settlement Agreement re: Diabetes Finger-Prick Tests, which includes information about diabetes for use by KinderCare employees.
- Section 504 from the U.S. Department of Labor.
- How to File a Complaint with the Office of Civil Rights under Section 504, courtesy of the U.S. Deparment of Health and Human Services.
- Chapter 13: Diabetes and the Family from the Healing Handbook for Persons with Diabetes includes information about What School Personnel Should Know About the Student With Diabetes. Provided by the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
- How to Write an I.E.P. is a book designed to help parents who have children with disabilities succeed in school. Many parents of children with diabetes use an IEP to ensure that their children can care for their diabetes in school.
Original posting 7 September 1997
Updated 9 July 2002
Last Updated: Tuesday February 14, 2012 10:54:15
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.
This site is published by Children With Diabetes, Inc, which is responsible for its contents.
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