State Laws, Regulations and Policies for School Diabetes Care
About this information:
This information was prepared by the American Diabetes Association, a national leader in diabetes information and advocacy. It covers state rules on diabetes care in Alabama schools, and may not include all the important details. We strive to be constantly up to date, but laws can change. It is not a substitute for professional legal advice.
1. Does Alabama allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer insulin?
Yes. With parent permission, Alabama law allows nurses to train unlicensed staff to administer injectable medications needed for diabetes care:
[…] a licensed health care professional may provide training and supervise school employees becoming unlicensed medication assistants who may also be providing care and performing tasks […] Code of Ala. § 16-6G-3.
2. Does Alabama allow teachers and other lay staff to administer glucagon?
Yes. Alabama allows nurses to train unlicensed staff to administer injectable medications—including glucagon—needed for diabetes care. Code of Ala. § 16-6G-3.
3. Does Alabama allow students to self-manage diabetes care at school, anytime and anywhere?
Yes, for medicines. Students with chronic conditions are allowed to self-administer medicines. This allows students to administer insulin or other diabetes medication, anytime, anywhere.
[…] each local board of education and the governing body of each nonpublic school in the state shall permit the self-administration of medications by a student for chronic conditions […] [A] student shall be permitted to possess and self-administer approved medications, according to the orders of the prescriber, at any time while on school property or while attending a school-sponsored event. Code of Ala. § 16-1-39(a)-(e).
State law does not specifically say that students have the right to blood glucose testing, eating food, or drinking water anytime, anywhere, but there are no barriers, either.
4. Does Alabama allow students to carry diabetes supplies like needles, insulin, and blood glucose testing devices?
Yes, for medicines. Students who self-manage diabetes may have approved medicines with them on school property or school-sponsored events:
[…] student shall be permitted to possess and self-administer approved medications, according to the orders of the prescriber, at any time while on school property or while attending a school-sponsored event. Code of Ala. § 16-1-39(e).
State law does not specifically say that students have the right to carry other supplies and food anytime, anywhere, but there are no barriers, either.
5. Does Alabama allow a school to move students to another school because of their need for diabetes care?
No. Alabama law states that a student with diabetes must be allowed to attend the school he or she would normally attend, regardless of whether there is a school nurse at the school:
A school shall not require or pressure parents or guardians to provide care for a student with diabetes at school or at school-sponsored activities in which the student is a direct participant […] A student with diabetes in public school may attend the school the student would otherwise attend if the student did not have diabetes, and the diabetes care […] shall be provided at the school. A school system may not restrict a student who has diabetes from attending any school on the basis that the student has diabetes, that the school does not have a full-time school nurse, or that the school does not have trained unlicensed medication assistants. Code of Ala. § 16-6G-7.
For more information, see the following helpful resources:
- Code of Alabama, Title 16, Education
- Alabama Senate Bill 57, Section 7 (PDF)
- Department of Justice, Letter of Finding, "The United States' Investigation Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act with respect to Public School Children with Diabetes in Alabama, D.J. Nos. 204-1-72, 204-1-73, 204-1-74, and 204-2-59," December 9, 2013.
If you have more questions or need help with ongoing problems related to diabetes care at school, email askADA@diabetes.org, or call the American Diabetes Association Association at 1-800-DIABETES (342-2383).