Special Ed Connection, January 12, 2010

A lack of consensus among school staff about who was responsible for a student’s diabetes care caught OCR’s attention in Wake County (NC) Public School System, 53 IDELR 129 (OCR 2009).

Here, interviews with the student’s teacher, aide and front-office staff suggested there was no clear, agreed-upon primary diabetes care provider for the student. Moreover, the student’s teacher and the teacher’s aide were in need of additional diabetes care training. The district agreed to take remedial action to comply with Section 504.

Care provisions for a student with diabetes should address key issues, such as who is responsible for the student’s needs during the school day. Learn what other provisions you must consider when planning for a student with diabetes and why the American Diabetes Association says students with diabetes need a medical management plan and a 504 plan.

“This case is a good reminder, in the wake of the ADA Amendments Act, that districts need to take a look at kids with health care plans and consider them under the umbrella of 504,” said Julie Fay, a school attorney with Shipman & Goodwin LLP in Hartford, Conn. “I think we will have more kids who currently have health care plans who now may be eligible under 504.”

The ADAAA, which took effect Jan. 1, 2009, amended the definition of “disability” in the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, of which Section 504 is a part. The changes mean districts cannot consider mitigating measures, such as medication, in eligibility determinations. In addition, districts must consider an expanded list of major life activities, including endocrine function, when determining if a student’s impairment substantially limits a major life activity.

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