Inconsistent Type 1 Care at Schools

An anthology of five cases when children with Type 1 were blocked from needed diabetes care during the school day.



Courts in the United States have long recognized diabetes as a “disability” that requires legal protection. In 2008, Congress affirmed the principle that public school children with diabetes are protected under the law. That protection mainly comes in the form of reasonable accommodation for diabetes care during the school day.

However, those principles are being tested at the state level and in individual schools and school districts. We’ve tracked challenges to Type 1 diabetes care in public school systems in the U.S. and Canada in these five stories:

-We explore the case of Owen Pollard, a preschooler with Type 1 who couldn’t get diabetes care from school staff in two Seattle preschools. When the Pollards relocated to Maine, they found a public school where Owen was welcomed. We write about what a difference it makes to have a school system that’s proactive on diabetes care.

-We continued our series with a closer look at Maine and the patchwork of state laws which either authorize or prohibit a non-medical school employee to carry out diabetes care.

-There are states, such as New Hampshire, where there’s some grey in the law when it comes to in-school diabetes care, but not enough to guarantee care if a school nurse is unavailable.

-Diabetes mom Elizabeth Moreau of Ottawa discusses how inconsistency of diabetes care in schools is a problem in Canada, as well as in the U.S.

-It was through a reader that we learned of the expulsions of two North Carolina children, including one with Type 1, from a well-heeled church-affiliated preschool. The school claims it is exempt from the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

We will continue to follow this issue as new tests to the law emerge. If you have a story to share of diabetes care in school, either good or bad, please email our editor, Craig Idlebrook, at cidlebrook@epscomm.com.

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Jim Cahill is a senior writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. Before turning to writing, he was a lawyer in government and private practice who focused on consumer protection and regulatory law. He can be contacted at jcahill@epscomm.com.