Keep Your Child Safe at School
Protecting kids with diabetes in the classroom
Heather Giacoio, whose daughter, Sarah, enters fifth grade this fall, isn’t feeling the usual jitters as the school year begins. She has peace of mind now that Pennsylvania has passed a law protecting children with diabetes in school. Sarah, who has type 1, is feeling more comfortable, too.
In an effort led by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the state now permits trained school personnel (in addition to licensed health professionals) to provide diabetes care to students, including administering insulin and glucagon. Before Pennsylvania passed its Safe at School law in July 2016, students with diabetes couldn’t safely participate in field trips or other school-sponsored activities if a school nurse wasn’t available.
More than half the states around the country have passed similar laws, which permit students who are able to manage their diabetes on their own to do so at school or during sponsored events.
Jennifer Holdgreve of Centreville, Maryland, whose 12-year-old daughter Allison has type 1 diabetes, says managing diabetes at school can be tricky for students. In April 2016, Maryland passed legislation requiring that guidelines be implemented for monitoring blood glucose and administering treatment at school, among other issues. Now Allison can check her blood glucose in the classroom, rather than in the nurse’s office, making her 20-minute lunch break less hectic. “The guidelines aren’t out yet, [but] this legislation gave us a little more freedom,” Holdgreve says.
To learn more about meeting the needs of children with diabetes at school, go to diabetes.org/safeatschool.
- Review and update your child’s Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP), or work with your provider to create a new one. It should detail your child’s diabetes treatment regimen at school. Download a sample plan at diabetes.org/dmmp.
- Make sure your child’s 504 plan is up to date. This should include the self-management tasks a student is allowed to perform on his or her own, who will assist him or her if help is needed, and how the staff will handle emergency situations such as a serious low. For a sample plan, head to diabetes.org/504plan.
- Keep a box of fast-acting sources of glucose and a glucagon kit with your child—in the classroom, in a backpack, and at the nurse’s office. Refill as needed.
- Make sure trained school personnel are available in school and during school events to perform basic emergency care, such as spotting a low and administering glucagon, if needed.
Find out which laws protect students with diabetes in your state at diabetes.org/kidswin.