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November 14, 2002

School and Daycare

Question from South Dakota, USA:

Currently, my son is unable to test himself in the classroom because administration considers the lancet to be a weapon. My feelings are that if the lancet is a weapon, so are thumbtacks and scissors. Your thoughts are appreciated.


Just another example of how schools hinder the care of children with diabetes rather than help. My advice is to first have a gentle sit down with your school officials, including the school nurse (there must be someone in the district to represent a school nurse, I imagine) so that person can be your advocate. At first, make it a win-win situation for everyone — don’t be threatening. You want your child’s health to be monitored safely and you relay to the school that you know they certainly want him safe at school and with a proper environment for learning. Print out and show them the link from this website about school Issues. Based on your letter, I presume you are in public schools so the American with Disabilities Act will apply.

If you do not get satisfaction, then contact your local American Diabetes Association to help be your advocate. A call to the State board of education, etc, may be in line.

Additional comments from Dr. Donough O’Brien:

You should contact the American Diabetes Association Education Discrimination group at 1-800-342-2384 and find out how to contact their nearest advocacy group, and at the same time, ask for their information packet.

Additional comments from David S. Holtzman, Esq.:

I guess I do not understand; if you have established a 504 Plan for your child and the school is aware that your child needs to monitor their blood glucose levels, there should no issue of use of lancets. Perhaps as an accommodation, the lancets should be kept with the school nurse and your child can go there to do testing.