Families, health care providers and school nurses, administrators, teachers and other school staff are all committed to ensuring that students with diabetes can learn in a safe environment that promotes academic success and wellness. All agree these students should have the same educational opportunities as students without diabetes.
The development of a written accommodations and care plan developed under federal disability law—such as a Section 504 Plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP)—is the best way to ensure that diabetes needs are met in a way that maximizes safety, health, learning and participation.
Your School Your Rights (PDF) - An informational brochure to help you understand the rights of children with diabetes and what you can do to make sure your child receives fair treatment. (Also available in Spanish)
Rights and Responsibilities
Federal and some state laws protect students with diabetes and their families against discrimination and set out the legal responsibilities of the school. Federal laws ensure that students with diabetes and other disabilities have a right to a "free, appropriate public education" without discrimination. In addition, many states have laws that require schools to train school personnel and to provide services to meet the needs of students with diabetes
Federal disability laws provide the following rights to parents or guardian:
- To have their child assessed under IDEA and/or Section 504.
- To hold an IEP or a Section 504 meeting with school and school district personnel with an advocate, attorney, and/or experts, if desired, present to better explain the child's diabetes management.
- To develop an IEP or a Section 504 plan that specifically states the child's needs and the services required to meet these needs.
- To be notified of any proposed changes in the child's plan, to attend any meetings concerning proposed changes and to approve any changes.
In spite of federal legal protections, however, children with diabetes sometimes face problems in getting the care they need in schools. Often, the types of challenges can vary significantly from state to state, or even district to district.
Webinars: Children with Diabetes/Legal Protections at School
- Back to School! Parent Advocacy Webinar - August 24, 2012. Hear from two parents who have been there - not only on behalf of their own children, but working with many other parents to keep their children safe at school. Learn about the Safe at School campaign, school diabetes challenges, federal and state laws, and developing a 504 plan and strategies to overcome challenges. Find key resource for families and schools and learn how to become involved in Safe at School.
- Section 504 Eligibility Process: New Strategies, Information, and Tools for School Advocates - June 30, 2009. This webinar includes information about how the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 has clarified the definition of disability in ways that strengthen the case for ADA and Section 504 eligibility for students with diabetes. Also discussed are common roadblocks to participation in the 504 process that schools and families face, as well as strategies and tools for overcoming those roadblocks. Read more on Section 504.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities.
Section 504 is a federal civil rights law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave due to health conditions.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires states to provide a "free, appropriate public education" to children with disabilities.
A list of other resources and organizations to focus on disability.
State laws and regulations determine who in the school setting is allowed to perform or assist with diabetes care tasks.
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