School personnel must be aware if a child attending their school has diabetes in order to be prepared to provide emergency care in the case of a diabetes-related medical emergency. There are laws in the U.S. to ensure that students with disabilities attending public schools and publicly-funded day care centers be given the opportunity to fully participate in their educational experience. Pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 , the RI General Assembly passed a law in July 2008 pertaining to the Health and Safety of Pupils that allows non-medical school personnel in the absence of the School Nurse, to administer glucagon to a child with diabetes who is experiencing a diabetes-related emergency. Consequently, the Departments of Education and Health worked together to develop the policies, procedures and training required to implement this law.
Any parent of a child with diabetes should ask their child’s pediatrician to complete the Physician Orders for Students with Diabetes form. This form will provide a comprehensive diabetes medical management plan for your child to be used by your child’s School Nurse Teacher to develop the school care plan.
A Glucagon Administration Toolkit has been developed for use by school personnel to allow non-medical personnel to administer glucagon in the case of a diabetes-related emergency if the School Nurse is not available. Glucagon is a medication administered to people with diabetes when they are experiencing the signs and symptoms of dangerously low blood sugar levels. Extremely low blood sugar levels can lead to brain injury and death. The Kit contains the forms and training materials needed to become proficient in the administration of a Glucagon injection and include:
School Physicians can assist schools to provide glucagon administration training or help to identify other qualified personnel.
The Diabetes Prevention and Control Program sponsors the Rhode Island Diabetes Council whose members serve on committees tasked to address the issue of diabetes care in schools. The Council’s Diabetes & Children Subcommittee in collaboration with diabetes specialists, school nurse teachers, physicians, and parents meets to address any new challenges that children may have, who have diabetes, or who are at risk for the development of diabetes.