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September 10, 2001

School and Daycare

Question from Lancaster, California, USA:

My 13 year old daughter, who has had diabetes for six years, is in the eighth grade, and I would like for her to take care of her diabetes at school the same way she does sat home (i.e. check her blood, treat lows and highs, change her insulin pump, etc.). She always carries insulin with her, and I would like that not to change at school so I asked the school if she could carry an insulin pen with her to be able to treat her highs as soon as possible. According to the teachers, the eighth grade curriculum does not allow for enough time to teach, let alone leave the classroom to take care of business. They say it's not because they don't believe she can handle it, but that someone could get a hold of the pen, dial up a lethal dose, and administer it to a someone who does not have diabetes. I think this is very unlikely, if someone wanted to hurt someone at school, they would bring a gun or knife. What exactly would a lethal dose be? What would the first aid protocol be for something this unlikely? Would it be safer for the pen to have Regular in it because it gives more time to follow that protocol? and What would happen if someone who does not have diabetes received a dose of glucagon? Because they said she could carry that.


Your issues with the school seem to be somewhat in conflict. You’re right — If your daughter is allowed to carry glucagon, how come she can’t carry a pen? If someone without diabetes received either of these, it would cause problems.

Your best alternative is to have your daughter’s diabetes team fill out a 504 plan (healthcare plan) that includes the necessity of carrying a pen and is signed by her physician. I would then request a 504 meeting to discuss and implement the plan and include a member of your daughter’s team if possible. The school is required by law to honor a request for such a meeting and to institute appropriate accommodations for your daughter to manage her diabetes at school without missing out on any school activity (educational or otherwise). Be prepared though, you may need to make some compromises.