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March 3, 2003

School and Daycare

Question from Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA:

My seventh grade son takes care of all his diabetes needs by himself, but his school is making things hard for us. First of all, they are fighting my request for a 504 Plan. They say they don't have to give him one, but if they do it would have to apply under this heading "Substantially limits a major life activity" in order to be considered, and I'm not sure this is right. I want a 504 Plan mainly to address his extracurricular activities and mandated state testing procedures. He plays is on the extra curricular sports teams. If it is at an away or late game, I have to attend the game so that I can bring him a sack dinner with his insulin shot. If I can't go, he can't participate because the coaches will not carry his syringes, and he is not allowed to. I believe this is discrimination. What do you think?


Section 504 plans are developed to assist students in a regular educational setting who have a disability or health condition that “substantially limits a major life activity”. This could include learning. If you feel that your child is not within this category and is getting along fine in school, then your child does not need a 504 Plan. In my opinion, 504 Plans are not intended to encompass school extracurricular activities like sports teams, unless such activities take place as a part of the regular school day and are required of all students.

For more information about 504 Plans and kids with diabetes, take a look at the information developed by the American Diabetes Association. You can also contact the Illinois Board of Education at (312)814-5560 (Chicago) to request assistance in dealing with your school district.