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August 29, 2001

School and Daycare

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Question from Killen, Alabama, USA:

I have two children (ages 12 and 16) with diabetes, and the county nurse (there is no school nurse) called me about their school plan. She told me that they will not give a glucagon injection to a child. This is not right — It is in their 504 plan. Do they have to inject glucagon if they find my sons unconscious?

Answer:

Glucagon injections has been an issue in many schools and is very complicated since it is impacted by a variety of state statutes. A case in Virginia illustrates the problem very well:
Loudoun County, Virginia Case Study — Problem
In August 1999, Loudoun county public schools (“LCPS”) adopt a policy prohibiting staff members, except for a registered nurse or physician from administering glucagon.
Only 2 nurses employed to cover 30+ elementary schools.
In the event of a severe hypoglycemic episode, school staff is instructed to call 911 and wait.
Actions To Change LCPS Glucagon Policy
Parents and ADA engage is extensive efforts and negotiation to educate school board and administrators about diabetes and the safety and necessity of glucagon.
Letter from Congressman Frank Wolf to LCPS urging policy change.
Letters to editor and newspaper articles
LCPS continues to prohibit glucagon based upon its attorney’s interpretation of the Virginia Drug Control Act
State senator introduces diabetes school care bill to VA General Assembly and passes General Assembly with only 2 opposing votes
Parents file complaint with U.S. Department of Education/Office of Civil Rights that results in an all encompassing settlement agreement impacting schools nationwide
LCPS/OCR Agreement — Commitment To Resolve
Requires schools to train a minimum number of staff members in diabetes care and treatment
Trained staff member must be available on-site at all times, including bus transportation, field trips and school sponsored extracurricular activities
Requires LCPS to develop and implement health care for every LCPS student with diabetes
OCR monitoring of LCPS’s compliance with agreement

(from Crystal Jackson, American Diabetes Association advocate)

As you can see, this district went to a great deal of effort and finally got things changed. It did take a lot of time, persistence, legal help, and patience. I would continue to pursue getting things changed in your sons’ school, but, in the meantime, come up with a plan that the school can live with and will insure your sons’ safety.

SS