October 8, 2002
School and Daycare
Question from Killeen, Texas, USA:
This is the first year that my daughter, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes five months ago, goes to school as full time student, and since school started, I am confronting difficulties with the school nurse in providing the special care my daughter needs at school. She didn’t give us the necessary forms and/or documents for my daughter’s doctor to fill out, and one day she asked why if my daughter is not getting insulin at school, she has to monitor her.
We met with the nurse and principal and expressed our concerns about our daughter’s lack of care of at school, and the nurse (an RN) asked if she should give insulin when the blood sugar is low. She seems to have little knowledge about diabetes and we feel very uncomfortable with her. What should we do?
Your daughter has the right to receive appropriate health care services while she is at school. I am most concerned that you appear to have not taken the appropriate steps to advise the school administration of your child’s special needs and then allow the school to evaluate your child so that the schools can develop an appropriate plan to provide the special services that your child needs to succeed in school.
A pair of federal laws known as Section 504 and IDEA guarantee children in public schools access to special services in the public school setting. However, in order to be able to receive the protections afforded under the law, a parent must notify the school administration that their child has special needs. For more information on how parents in Texas can help their children, please visit Special Education Enrollment: A Practical Primer by greatschools.net. Do not be put off by discussions of children who need special education services due to profound physical or mental defects. These laws are also in place to help kids with chronic health issues, like diabetes.
[Editor’s comment: Also please review the materials on our Diabetes at School pages.