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May 7, 2002

School and Daycare

Question from West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA:

Must 11 to 19 year old students who self-monitor blood glucose be restricted to only testing in the school health office where a sharps container is located? What should the policy be concerning the used lancets?


Children with diabetes should be allowed to check the glucose whenever and virtually wherever. Often that will include school and sometimes the bus.

The issue of a sharps depository is a real one, but I think that for the bus, the child need not dispose of the lancet immediately. It can be kept in the lancet device and disposed of later. Frankly, I think the reality is that despite other advice, many people with diabetes do tend to reuse their lancets multiple times before changing anyway.

Additional comments from David S. Holtzman, Esq.:

I think a child of that age should be permitted to test in any location. Contact the American Diabetes Association (1-800-diabetes) for their guidelines.

Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

The policy about lancets and blood glucose testing should be individualized to do what is best for the student. In some cases, this would require supervision by a nurse or other school personnel, while in other cases, this would be to allow testing whenever and wherever it is needed with the only provision of being responsible to care for ones own sharps like lancets and used strips.

In most school systems, however, odd rules are made which usually suggest that such testing be done in the school nurse’s office. It would be best to talk to school nurse, find out exact school policy and the rationale for the policy, and then discuss specifics further.

Your own diabetes team can then also be asked to help assist you in working with school if the rules are not really reasonable. Contacting local school officials, supervisors, and state or local representatives also can be helpful if you are not making any progress.

Additional comments from Dr. Larry Deeb:

Obviously, as a doctor, I would hope that children could test anywhere, but I am not in charge of every school system.

Additional comments from Laura Billetdeaux, CWD Events Coordinator:

The policy in our school system is the younger children go to the office and test, where there is a sharps container there. If testing on the bus, the lancet stays in the lancing device. The older children, like my 12 year old son, test anywhere needed. The meter stays with him in his backpack. He changes his lancet and puts the used one in the zippered case that his meter is in, and disposes of them in our