More States Pass Safe at School Laws
Urbana, Maryland, social studies teacher Matthew Ferrante recalls the day earlier this year when he found out that at least six students were crowded into the school nurse’s office managing their type 1 diabetes—a situation that could’ve led to the delayed treatment of a dangerous low.
Ferrante, who also has type 1 diabetes, says circumstances like these moved him to join other American Diabetes Association Safe at School advocates to press for change. Their efforts paid off. In April, Maryland became the latest state to pass legislation that takes a step forward in ensuring that students with diabetes have improved access to care at school.
Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland has signed the measure. It requires that guidelines for monitoring and treating blood glucose levels at school, among other issues, be implemented.
Ferrante, the Maryland state advocacy chair for the Safe at School campaign, says he expects the bill to allow capable students to self-manage their care in the classroom or on school grounds without having to go to the nurse’s office. Training additional staff, he says, will help kids get the prompt care they need to manage their diabetes safely when the nurse is unavailable.
Safe at School advocates like Ferrante push for regulation, legislation, and policy changes that ensure students with diabetes have the support they need to fully participate in school, in after-school activities, and on field trips.
These other states have recently passed laws improving access to care for students with diabetes:
Pennsylvania—In July 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into a law a bill that allows school staff to be trained to provide routine and emergency diabetes care and lets capable students self-manage their diabetes in school settings.
Idaho—In March 2016, Gov. Butch Otter signed Association-sponsored legislation that allows capable students to self-manage their diabetes in the classroom, on school campus, and during school-sponsored activities.
Hawaii—Gov. David Ige signed into law in July 2015 a bill that allows staff to volunteer for basic diabetes care training, including giving insulin, and allows capable children to self-manage their diabetes.
Nevada—Gov. Brian Sandoval approved legislation in May 2015 to permit students to self-manage their diabetes at school. In previous years, laws were enacted to allow school personnel to volunteer to be trained to give insulin and glucagon.
Safe at School Goals
- Ensure that school staff have basic knowledge about diabetes and know whom to contact in a diabetes emergency.
- Make certain that a small group of staffers has been trained to provide care when a school nurse isn’t available.
- Allow capable children to self-manage their diabetes at school.