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Diabetes and School Attendance: New Fact Sheet

school bus

With the start of the new school year, it’s time to focus on all things regarding back-to-school, including school attendance. All children, including those with diabetes, need to attend school regularly. Fluctuating blood sugar levels are a common complication of diabetes, but that alone is not a reason for a child to miss school. Having trained school staff and a thorough, individualized Diabetes Medical Management Plan or other written diabetes care plan in place, will provide a child with diabetes the necessary protections to be medically safe at school. However, in situations where a child is experiencing severe symptoms or when the child has another illness complicating the diabetes, an excused absence from school might be justified.

Schools must make reasonable accommodations to attendance policies for disability–related, medically-justified absences. Parents/guardians should understand the school’s procedures for reporting excused absences, and, for each absence, submit the required medical documentation and all other required information. A new fact sheet developed by the Association will help you understand the appropriate accommodations for children with diabetes, as well as how to comply with school attendance policies. If you experience difficulties with your child’s school about attendance issues, call 1-800-DIABETES for help and guidance.

New and Noteworthy

Diversity at School

New Guidance from U.S. Department of Education on
Charter Schools:

On May 14, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education/Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a “Dear Colleague” letter stating that the federal civil rights laws, regulations and guidance that apply to charter schools are the same as those that apply to other public schools. Many children with diabetes attend charter schools, and, OCR recommends that it is essential that charter school staff know about these laws, which cover all operations of a charter school, including recruiting, admissions, academics, educational services and testing, school climate (including prevention of harassment), disciplinary measures (including suspensions and dismissals), athletics and other nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities. To help educate school staff and ensure appropriate medical care for your child, share this letter with your child’s charter school. For more information and guidance about children with diabetes who attend charter schools, call 1-800-DIABETES.

Parents Corner


Laws Keep Children with Diabetes Safe at School
It’s a win for kids with diabetes in Ohio, where House Bill 264 was signed into law this summer. The new law allows school staff to be trained to assist children with diabetes with insulin administration and, in an emergency situation, the administration of glucagon. The law also allows children, if they are able, to self-manage their diabetes at school. Many years before Ohio passed its law, Texas became one of the first states to pass Safe at School legislation. Diabetes Forecast® magazine describes how the Lone Star State has made life better for kids with diabetes.

Diabetes on the Job


New Diabetes Policy at Major Motor Coach Bus Company
What would you do if your employer required you to take a urine test, a fasting blood test and check your A1C—and get certain results—in order to keep working? In the case of three New Jersey bus drivers, they fought back and sued their employer, Coach USA, when the company removed them from their jobs because of positive urine tests, too high fasting blood glucose tests and A1C levels the company deemed unsafe. The drivers and their attorneys argued that none of these tests indicated they were unsafe to drive a bus. The company policy, they said, represented discrimination on the basis of their diabetes. After more than four years of litigation, the company changed its diabetes policy. Drivers with type 2 diabetes will no longer be kicked off the job immediately if they don’t meet certain test results. Read more about the case and the new policy.

Do you use insulin and drive a bus or truck? There are special rules you must follow if you do. Contact us at 1-800-DIABETES to talk to a Legal Advocate about what to do to keep your license.

How to Get Help

For those with diabetes, the best way to avoid unfair treatment is to know about your rights up-front. We have resources that will help, including how to:

If you have more questions, or would like to discuss a specific problem, call 1-800-DIABETES (342-2383) or email askADA@diabetes.org. Our Legal Advocates (lawyers experienced with diabetes discrimination) can offer free help and guidance for your problem.

Spread the Word!

Help us spread the word about how the American Diabetes Association helps improve the rights of people who have diabetes. Copy and paste these Facebook and Twitter posts to share with your personal networks.


Back to School Webinar
Are you preparing your child with diabetes for the new school year? Does your child have a 504 Plan in place? Do you know about the laws that protect children with diabetes at school? Do you need information and resources? Visit diabetes.org/discriminationwebinars and view the free August 2014 Back to School webinar.


Back to School Webinar
Getting ready to send your child w/ #diabetes back to school? Gets tips from the @AmDiabetesAssn Back to School webinar: bit.ly/1whcvcY

Meet American Diabetes Association Advocates


A grade-school student who tells his diabetes story to legislators. A human resources director who attended Call to Congress. A diabetes educator who helps keep children safe at school. An attorney who fights diabetes discrimination in his local area. People participate in American Diabetes Association advocacy in many different ways. Meet these advocates. Your voice counts; sign up today to become a Diabetes Advocate and help Stop Diabetes®.

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The American Diabetes Association's Legal Advocacy activities are supported by a grant from Novo Nordisk.

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