Until today, California schools have insisted that only nurses could administer insulin and give other diabetes-related care to school children. Unfortunately, California only has one school nurse for every 2,257 students.
In the absence of a licensed school nurse, parents were sometimes forced to leave their jobs to give their children insulin shots or check their well-being. Out of a fear of liability, non-medical staff were often forbidden to help.
Now, as the result of the settlement of a 2005 lawsuit filed by four parents and the ADA, California schools must have staff available, trained but not necessarily licensed, to help students with their shots, monitoring, and other needs. A few other states, including Oklahoma and Texas, already have such legislation, but it’s hoped that California will serve as a model for even more states to follow suit.
According to State Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell, letters will be sent to every California school district informing them that they must provide trained staff at every school where diabetes-related help is requested.
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Sources: PR Newswire; USA Today; Mercury News, August 2007
See update to this article: “California Nurses Put the Brakes on Training Non-Medical School Staff”.