Education Materials for Lawyers

Legal Rights of Students with Diabetes
(James A. Rapp, JD, et al.) (Oct. 2007)
A guide developed by the Association to provide advocates, particularly attorneys, with comprehensive and authoritative information about the legal rights of students with diabetes. It contains information on the law, strategies for securing these rights, procedures for resolving disputes, forms and other resources.

Going to College with Diabetes: A Self Advocacy Guide for Students
(Katharine Gordon, JD; James A. Rapp, JD; Brian L. Dimmick, JD; Crystal Jackson) (April 2011)
Developed by the Association, this authoritative and comprehensive guide provides self advocacy tools on students' legal rights and postsecondary institutions' legal obligations; strategies for obtaining reasonable modifications and accommodations; tips to help students manage their diabetes in a new environment; sample forms; and legal information for when a formal complaint or legal action may become necessary.

Legal Protections for Students with Diabetes
A brief introduction to the three federal laws (Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA) that provide legal protection to students.

"Education Law" (PDF)
(James A. Rapp, JD) (May 2008)
Excerpt from a treatise on all aspects of education law which addresses the obligations of schools under federal law to provide care and services to students with diabetes.

Sutton Investigative Guidance: Consideration of 'Mitigating Measures' in OCR Disability Cases (PDF)
(U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Sept. 2000)
This guidance was issued by OCR to clarify the application of Sutton v. United Airlines and other Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act in the educational setting.

School Services for Students with Diabetes under IDEA and Section 504: Choosing the Right Statute for Coverage (PDF)
(Victoria Thomas, JD – American Diabetes Association) (July 2009)
This memorandum explains the key differences between the two main federal statutes that offer a right to services in public elementary and secondary schools to students with diabetes, and explains some advantages and disadvantages of coverage under each. It is designed to help attorneys and advocates determine whether to seek coverage under the IDEA or Section 504 for a particular student.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act and Bloodborne Pathogens Standard: Application to Diabetes Care Tasks at School and in Employment (PDF)
(Victoria Thomas, JD – American Diabetes Association) (June 2008)
This memorandum describes the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) as it is relevant to diabetes care at work and school, specifically explaining that OSHA generally does not present barriers to performing diabetes care tasks anywhere, anytime at most workplaces and most areas in schools.

Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel
(National Diabetes Education Program, Sept. 2010)
Designed to educate school personnel about the needs and rights of students with diabetes. It includes information on diabetes and its proper care at school, as well as sample forms, and other resources.

Diabetes Care in the School and Day Care Setting (PDF)
Diabetes Care Volume 35, Supplement 1 (Jan. 2012)
This official position statement expresses the Association’s views on what diabetes care is needed and appropriate at school.


Sample Plans
The Association has drafted a sample Section 504 plan and a sample Diabetes Medical Management Plan, which are key documents setting out what services are to be provided to a particular student.

Sample Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Hearing Request (MS Word) (2008)

OCR Agreements

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is responsible for enforcing the rights of students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Below are several OCR decisions and settlements addressing students with diabetes.

California School Litigation  

In 2007, the Association settled a lawsuit against the California Department of Education and two school districts regarding diabetes care in California public schools. The settlement included a Legal Advisory designed to inform school districts of their legal obligations to serve students with diabetes. After the settlement, several nursing organizations filed suit to challenge provisions of the Legal Advisory relating to who may administer insulin to students; this litigation is now before the California Supreme Court. Click on the links below to learn more about the settlement and current litigation regarding diabetes care in California schools.

Other Cases

B.A.T.M. v. School Board of Pinellas County

In a Florida state administrative hearing, parents of a child with type 1 diabetes challenged a school district policy requiring their child to be transferred to a different school where there was a full time school nurse, despite state law that permits school districts to train unlicensed school personnel to administer insulin and other diabetes care to children. A state hearing officer ruled that the district’s policy violates Section 504 because it does not provide for individualized assessment of the needs of the child.

R.K. v. Board of Education of Scott County

This case challenges a Kentucky school district’s policy requiring a student with type 1 diabetes who is not yet able to self-administer to transfer to another school that has a full-time nurse, rather than being able to receive needed care at the school he would otherwise attend. The Sixth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the school district.

  • Last Reviewed: October 9, 2009
  • Last Edited: February 25, 2014