Court Rules in Favor of California Schools on Insulin Shots

This fall, it’s going to be much easier for children in California with Type 1 diabetes to get insulin at school, thanks to a new ruling by the California Supreme Court yesterday.

Yesterday, the court ruled unanimously that the California public schools can have non-medically-licensed employees administer insulin shots, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. Previously, only school nurses were allowed to give the injections.

There are about 14,000 children in the California school system, many of whom need multiple insulin injections every day, according to an article in The California Nurses Association had argued that only school nurses should be allowed to give the shots, even though the nurse-to-student ratio in California schools is 2,200 to 1 and many schools don’t have full-time nurses.

Such a policy caused hardship for parents of diabetic kids, according to the article. One Los Angeles mom, Laura Mecoy said it upended her day:

As a working parent, I either left my job to help my child or employed a nanny who could provide that service when my child was too young to administer his own doses.

The justices agreed with the state that it represented too great a burden, and overturned a lower court ruling which said the schools were required to hold the line and hire more nurses. Now, any school employee who is trained in giving the injections can administer them. Reports on the ruling did not mention what the guidelines will be for training school personnel to give the injections.

The ruling probably will have added importance in the coming years, as the number of children with diabetes climbs, fueled by higher numbers of children with Type 2 diabetes. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued its first ever guidelines for Type 2 diabetes earlier this year, underlining the growing issue of childhood obesity, according to a Wall Street Journal article. The guidelines called for more aggressive medical treatment, including insulin injections. Currently, 1 in 3 new diabetes cases for children under 18 is Type 2, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There has been no word on whether the nurses association will appeal the ruling.

Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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