Parents, health care professionals and school nurses can accomplish a great deal to prevent or eliminate challenges to care by educating school staff about the individual child's needs and general diabetes management. School nurses can play a pivotal role in getting current, relevant information to both parents and school staff.
However, teaching and learning should be a reciprocal process. Parents and school staff must educate each other about key issues related to diabetes care in schools. Potential conflicts can be avoided if both take an active role teaching each other about what they know and what they fear related to diabetes care in the school.
Strategies for Advocates
Learn about the Association's Position Statement on care of children with diabetes in the school and day care setting.
EDUCATE yourself and local school personnel by sharing:
- Your child's medical needs documented in a written plan (sometimes called a Diabetes Medical Management Plan or Health Care Plan) signed by the child's health care provider. Explain these medical needs to school personnel.
- Discrepancies you find between local practice and the Association's School Position Statement. Do not assume that school employees are familiar enough with diabetes management to detect the differences.
- A copy of the National Diabetes Educational Program's Helping the Students with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel.
Learn about the laws that protect students with diabetes in schools.
EDUCATE yourself and local school personnel who may not be aware of how diabetes relates to these laws.
- Direct school personnel to the Legal Protections section of this Web site.
- Obtain the Association's school discrimination packet by calling 1-800-DIABETES.
- Read thoroughly and prepare to educate school employees and policy-makers.
- Distribute printed copies of appropriate materials to school employees and policy-makers and to local and state policy makers.
Learn what state laws and school policies exist that address the following:
- Where can kids test, snack, inject, etc.? What supervision is provided or required?
- Is glucagon and a person trained to administer it available whenever the child is involved in a school activity?
- What authority does the individual nurse have to delegate responsibility for management tasks to other school employees, or to school volunteers?
- If authority to delegate is limited, then where do the limitations arise? With the decision of the individual school nurse? With a state-wide or district-wide policy? Who sets state-wide or district-wide policy?
- What is the chain of supervision for health care in the schools? What is the appeal process if the school won't meet the child's needs?
- Contact the ADA to see what is known about laws in your state that influence how diabetes management decisions are made in schools. This does not mean you must accept these policies and live within their limitations; it means you know what they are and what needs to be changed. Then educate school personnel so that they understand what is needed for good diabetes management at school.
Call 1-800-DIABETES for a printed school discrimination packet, parent advocacy workshops, trained school advocates and attorneys who provide individual help to families. In addition the Association provides training materials and seminars to diabetes health care professionals and school nurses who then train school personnel on diabetes care tasks.