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March 17, 2008

School and Daycare

Question from Garland, Texas, USA:

My daughter attends a small Christian school in Seagoville, just outside of Dallas. She was diagnosed with type 1 in August 2007. The school doesn't have a nurse and my daughter is the only type 1 diabetic. It's her second year there and we had planned to send her next year. I have been providing information to her teacher and administrator to keep them aware and I have spent an hour with them to go over the basics, but they require training really, as they have proven to me to be unsure of what to do in the event of a low even after I provided them with information and talked to them. I arranged for an ADA volunteer to go to the school to do training for one hour on the school in service day. They said that they would like this and the administrator said she would send letters to all the staff telling them about it. I suggested strongly that the teacher she will have next year should attend. The day before the training, I called the school to verify and they said that only the administrator and current teacher would attend. They said they could only ask teachers, but it was their choice. The ADA lady would then not go to the school to do the training for just two people. I know that the school doesn't fall under the 504 plan as it's not given any funds from the government, but isn't it answerable to anyone with regards to diabetes management and the safety of children on its premises?

Answer:

Please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES for guidance and review the information on the ADA’s web page on School Discrimination.

Schools run by religious entities who do not receive federal funds have no obligation to provide services under federal laws. It seems to me in this case that you have some key school staff members who are willing to be trained, so I recommend that training be rescheduled. You may also want to contact your public school district to see if it is willing to provide any coverage or training. While the school staff’s participation in the training should be voluntary, the school administrator should make good faith efforts to recruit staff members for training.

Also, check to see if your school has an anti-discrimination policy. This is usually found on its web site, in its handbook, and printed on other materials. If so, use this to show the school how it is violating its own policy by its discrimination against your child in the form of its unwillingness to provide care.

CJ