Special Needs Transportation

Bill seeks safeguards for diabetic students

Posted on February 1, 2008

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A bill in the state General Assembly contains provisions to protect students who have diabetes.

Under one provision, school districts would be required to give bus drivers information identifying diabetic students, potential emergencies related to the students’ diabetes and appropriate response to such emergencies. Drivers would also be given emergency contact information for those students.

In schools, at least one staff member — other than a school nurse or physician — who has been trained in diabetes care and treatment would need to be present during school hours and at all school-sponsored activities that include a student with diabetes.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, in cooperation with the Department of Health, the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators, would need to develop guidelines for the training of school employees in diabetes care and treatment.

As the bill explains, diabetes must be constantly managed to avoid the potentially life-threatening, short-term consequences of blood sugar levels that are either too high or too low, and to avoid or delay the serious long-term complications of high blood sugar levels, which include blindness, amputation, heart disease and kidney failure.

“In order to manage their disease, students with diabetes must have access to the means to balance food, medications and physical activity level while at school and at school-related activities,” the bill states.


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