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March 15, 2002

School and Daycare

Question from Kitts Hill, Ohio, USA:

The school refused to administer insulin to my seven year old daughter so I was going to the school every day. I take her to school and pick her up after school, and I had to go to the school to give her insulin, so I was making several trips. To try to resolve this, I sent my 19 year old daughter to be there for the day to administer insulin, but the school would not allow her to stay there. We were told by a diabetes educator at a nearby hospital that we were allowed to sit in the classroom, but the principal at the school said that is not the case, called the prosecutor and Children's Services, and was going to arrest my oldest daughter and take her to jail if she did not leave. I spoke with one in Columbus yesterday, but won't know anything until next week. Do we not have the right to sit in the classroom? Do have any recommendations on attorneys to handle discrimination?

Answer:

I don’t know why not, but I don’t know if I want to spend my whole day with my children in the classroom. Not good for me — and it’s not good for my child — especially from a social-self reliance perspective. The better question is why the school (if a public school) may be shirking their responsibilities regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, and this question is best answered by legal folks.

DS
Additional comments from David S. Holtzman, Esq.:

For problems with public school systems in Ohio, contact the Ohio State Department of Education at (614) 995-4695.

DSH

[Editor’s comment: Hopefully, your daughter has a 504 plan in place that outlines the school’s responsibilities with regard to her care at school. This makes things a whole lot easier. (See The Law, Schools, and Your Child with Diabetes.) If you do have a 504 that stipulates that you will be responsible for giving the insulin, I can understand the principal’s position.

Nevertheless, under the law, if the school receives Federal funding, it is required to provide for your daughter’s diabetes management while she is there including having someone available to give insulin. I, too, am not sure having your eldest daughter or anyone else sit in the classroom is the answer.

I suggest that you set up a meeting with school officials to devise or review a 504 plan which will outline in detail what responsibilities you and they share in your daughter’s diabetes management. If possible, a diabetes educator should attend such a meeting. If this isn’t possible, I recommend you have a letter from your daughter’s physician describing what needs to be done while she in school.

For further assistance, I think you should contact your local American Diabetes Association affiliate. You might also want to check out Wrightslaw which offers legal information for parents of kids with special needs, including kids with diabetes, regarding education and schooling.

SS]