Do you serve students with diabetes?

School nurses should take note of what is happening in New York state regarding services to students with diabetes in our public schools. There is a class action suit on behalf of the 2,117 students with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in the NYC school system.  The suit was brought by several students, their parents, and the American Diabetes Association.  The parties have been negotiating for two and half years and have resolved most of the issues.  The remaining issues are 1) field trips; and 2) bus transportation. 

The court held that NYC was discriminating against students with diabetes by having an ineffective policy in place for supplying nurses for field trips. Nurses could not be provided for almost 25% of the scheduled field trips.  The court held that the fact that the district could not secure funding for additional nurses was not a defense, unless the district could explain other “undue hardship” factors.  The court ordered the district to conduct a needs assessment and to then hire a sufficient number of “float pool nurses” so that trips would not be canceled.  As to transportation, the court ordered the district to train an adult on every bus to be able to administer glucagon as needed.  The district’s policy of calling 911 was deemed insufficient due to the grave consequences of severe hypoglycemia. 

Take note of the involvement of the American Diabetes Association in this class action against our country’s largest school district.  The ultimate resolution of this litigation may create a template for services for students with diabetes. 

It’s M.F. v. NYC DOE, decided by the federal court for the Eastern District of New York on January 27, 2022. It’s published by Special Ed Connection at 80 IDELR 96. 


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