A federal court has approved a landmark settlement that’s expected to ensure children with diabetes in New York City get the care they need to fully participate in school and school-related activities.
The class-action settlement resolves claims that New York City, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Office of School Health “systematically failed to ensure that students with diabetes could attend school safely and have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers,” in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the New York City Human Rights Law.
That’s according to a news release from Disability Rights Advocates, the American Diabetes Association, and the law firm of Weir Greenblatt Pierce LLP.
Expectations for the Defendants
Under the settlement agreement, the defendants are expected to modify policies, practices, and procedures related to:
- Planning to determine the needs of students with diabetes and how those needs are met.
- Providing care such that students with diabetes aren’t excluded or segregated from their classmates.
- Training staff and contractors (nurses, paraprofessionals, administrators, bus drivers and attendants, and teachers and other staff), and the provision of services during the school day and in afterschool activities.
Anticipated Reforms for New York City
Reforms listed in the settlement agreement include:
- Development and adoption of a template plan for students with diabetes, based on the American Diabetes Association’s Model 504 Plan.
- Commitment that accommodations necessary to meet student needs can’t be denied based on resources or available funding.
- New timelines related to how school staff will plan to meet the needs of students with diabetes, including meetings to develop Section 504 plans and ensuring that students can attend school with all accommodations in place on their first day of school.
- Robust new training about how to care for students with diabetes.
- Changes to ensure appropriately trained staff are available so that students with diabetes can attend field trips, eat with their classmates, ride the school bus, and participate in sports and other afterschool activities alongside other children.
The American Diabetes Association has been appointed as the joint expert for monitoring and reporting, with Dr. Peter D. Blanck as external monitor, for three school years.