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What are the laws protecting American students with diabetes?

0 3 years ago

Diabetes is protected as a disability under most laws in the United States. Diabetes is defined as a disability under federal law because it substantially limits the function of the endocrine system. The laws that protect people with diabetes against discrimination are Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA).

Section 504 covers students with diabetes in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Any educational facility, school or daycare center that receives federal funding must comply with Section 504.

Federal law gives students the right to receive the diabetes care they need to be safe and participate in school activities just like any other child. Schools should provide the following:

  • Trained staff to monitor blood sugar (blood glucose) levels and administer insulin and glucagon
  • Trained staff to provide diabetes care during field trips, extracurricular events and all school-sponsored activities
  • Capable students permitted to self-manage their diabetes anytime, anywhere

Schools should not:

  • Make family members go to school to care for a student’s diabetes
  • Transfer students to a different school to get needed diabetes care
  • Prevent students with diabetes from participating in field trips, sports and other school-sponsored activities

To ensure that students with diabetes are not discriminated in schools where they spend long hours, a good Section 504 Plan has to be put in place. A Section 504 Plan must be individualized to meet the specific needs of the individual student. Read more on how to create a model 504 plan to make sure that students, parents/guardians, and school staff understand their responsibilities and to minimize misunderstandings.


Header Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

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