American Diabetes Association Applauds the Signing of Arkansas House Bill 1395

Alexandria, Virginia
April 8, 2015

The American Diabetes Association (Association) is thrilled to announce the passage of Arkansas House Bill 1395, the latest victory in the Association’s ongoing fight to keep children with diabetes medically safe at school. This bill, signed in to law last Thursday by Governor Asa Hutchinson, will allow school staff to volunteer to be trained to provide basic diabetes care, including administering insulin and strengthen the tenet that allows children, if they are capable to do so, to self- manage their diabetes while at school.

The bill, which passed 79-4 in the House and 30-1 in the Senate, was sponsored by State Representative Bill Gossage and Senator Joyce Elliott. In addition, the Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam supported the bill in committee and on the House floor.

“The American Diabetes Association thanks Governor Asa Hutchinson, Senator Joyce Elliott, State Representative Bill Gossage and Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam for their support of House Bill 1395, the Arkansas Safe at School legislation. This legislation is critical to protecting the health of all children with diabetes in Arkansas,” said Connie Fetters, Arkansas State Advocacy Chair, American Diabetes Association. “Because of this law, parents of children with diabetes will no longer have to worry about getting the support at school needed to help keep their child heatlhy.”

Devoted Association volunteers, including Connie Fetters, Carol Nichols, and Laura Kendall and her daughter Jane, were instrumental in advocating for Safe at School legislation in Arkansas. The Association’s Executive Director of Arkansas Renee Paulsell, along with Rick Selig in the Association’s Little Rock office and NW Arkansas staff Natalie Burchit were also steadfast in their support throughout the process.

An estimated 208,000 children are diagnosed with diabetes in the United States. These children have a disease that must be managed 24/7, including the many hours spent at school, on field trips and in extra-curricular activities. Every day, children with diabetes are put at serious risk if no one, including a school nurse, is present at school to help with daily and emergency diabetes care. The passage of House Bill 1395 will remove that risk by allowing school employees who volunteer to be trained to assist with the diabetes care these children need and deserve to learn and be healthy.

To address barriers to diabetes care at school, the Association created its Safe at School campaign. Through this campaign, the Association is dedicated to making sure that all children with diabetes are medically safe at school and have the same educational opportunity as their peers.  

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)