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October 2, 2003

School and Daycare

Question from Cohasset, Minnesota, USA:

There are four elementary schools in our district, and only one has a full-time nurse which is where all special needs children are required to go. Our daughter, who is in first grade this year, has a nurse for three hours a day, and the other hours are covered by family as they won't let us go there unless this happens. For the last two years, they tried to make her move to the other school, but we've adjusted our schedules to be at her school. No one (including the teacher and bus driver) is allowed to treat her except the nurse and family. They've been advised to symptoms to watch for but can't treat. This year we couldn't cover an hour in the morning so they were going to make her move, but the other school was full so just for this year they've provided the nurse for an extra hour. How do we start fighting this for next year? If they moved her, busing would be an issue as she would be on the bus for more than an hour every morning and evening and would require a shot on the bus according to her schedule. We are currently five minutes from her school, and we drive her in the mornings. In addition, the bus would come to early for her current schedule, so we wouldn't be able to transfer her to the other school. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


You should obtain a copy of the new NDEP school guide to share with her school administrators that clearly supports the training of non-medical personnel to provide both routine and emergency diabetes care. In addition, it is the American Diabetes Association’s position that trained personnel must always be available on-site, and this may include the school nurse or another trained staff member.

Requiring a child to attend a “special” school is discriminatory and would encourage you to consider filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights if you are unable to secure needed care at your child’s neighborhood school. Also, I suggest that you question the school district about who will provide care on the school bus — the bus driver, an aide that has been trained in diabetes management? You should call 1-800-diabetes for the Association’s comprehensive packet on school discrimination and to talk to our legal advocate.