The California Third District Court of Appeal has struck down a state regulation that had allowed trained school personnel — not just school nurses — to administer insulin shots to students with diabetes.
The 2007 regulation had been adopted after parents argued that a shortage of school nurses meant kids with diabetes were in jeopardy of being deprived of a free and appropriate public education unless parents were prepared to come to school throughout the school day to administer injections.
The regulation was challenged by organizations representing school nurses. The American Diabetes Association and California Department of Education argued for keeping the regulation.
Related story from KING5-TV, Seattle: Nurse shortage pushes students with diabetes into one school; Parents cry foul
A Washington state school district has clustered medically fragile kids in one elementary school, claiming that the students would be served most safely and economically in one location. Most of the relocated students have diabetes.
Parents and advocates complain that consolidating nurses and relocating students with disabilities amounts to a violation of the children’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and has the effect of separating them from their peers.
“Really, this idea of segregating kids with diabetes isn’t sustainable,” said Scott Heinze, a board member with the American Diabetes Association. He says moving all medically fragile children to the same school sends the wrong message to kids with a manageable illness.
“This idea that we would take young people and segregate them because of the standard of care that they need to manage their disease essentially ostracizes these kids,” said Heinze.
Legal cases challenging similar practices have been launched in at least seven states.