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Which laws protect my child with diabetes at school?

Almost all schools are required by law to provide aids and related services to meet the needs of children with diabetes. Three federal laws may play an important role at school.

Federal laws regarding diabetes at school:

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in any federally funded program, including public school systems. To be protected by Section 504, the student must have a disability defined as: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of major life activities; a record of such an impairment, or be regarded as having such an impairment.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act provides similar protection in all public and private schools, except schools run by religious institutions.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees “free appropriate public education including special education and related service programming for all children with disabilities.” This law only applies to those children whose diabetes adversely affects their ability to learn. This can occur when your child’s blood glucose levels are often very high or low at school, if your child misses a lot of school due to diabetes-related complications, or if your child has another disability that affects learning.

You can ask your school district to evaluate your child to determine which laws apply.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.