One day at school in late January 2016, 7-year-old Jazmyne Codes, of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, received her insulin dose an hour late. The assistant principal informed her mother, CaTasha, of the incident. When CaTasha asked why that happened, she was told that the regular school nurse wasn’t available. She also learned that nobody else, including the two substitute school nurses, had been trained as backup to provide Jazmyne’s diabetes care.
Jazmyne, who is in first grade and has type 1 diabetes, was okay. But CaTasha was concerned about the rest of the school year.
Jazmyne’s medical challenges had caused her to miss a lot of school over the past couple of years. She has allergies and a weakened immune system from another condition, so any cold or other airborne illness can hurt her. CaTasha didn’t want Jazmyne’s diabetes to cause her any extra problems, such as possibly being penalized for missing too many school days—or even being held back a year because of absences. After all, she was a straight-A student.
To help prevent that from happening, CaTasha tried to get Jazmyne approved for the school district’s homebound medical program. That program allows students to receive instruction at home on days when they can’t attend school for medical reasons. But, Jazmyne was not approved for the program.
CaTasha realized that Jazmyne needed special consideration and accommodations from the school.
She needed to stay medically safe, avoid a repeat of the January insulin issue and continue doing well academically—then advance to the second grade on time. Although CaTasha knew a bit about what the school could offer students with medical needs and about the plan that was already in place for Jazmyne, she didn’t know the details. She also didn’t know if the existing plan fully protected Jazmyne. But she did know that she wanted the best for her daughter.
CaTasha contacted the American Diabetes Association® for help.
One of the Association’s Legal Advocates gave her information about their rights and guidance on how to move forward. It included the suggestion to schedule a 504 Plan meeting to discuss improvements to Jazmyne’s plan. A thorough 504 Plan would help Jazmyne by listing the details for her diabetes care at school, including which staff members would be trained to administer insulin. CaTasha took that advice, had the 504 meeting and achieved the results she needed.
Jazmyne now has a 504 Plan in place.
The school administrators assured CaTasha that Jazmyne’s medical care and educational needs would be met at school. That included training all of the school nurses about diabetes care. CaTasha is not only happy for Jazmyne, but also for other children in the district who have diabetes.
CaTasha says, “I really appreciated the help I received from the Legal Advocate at the American Diabetes Association. She was so wonderful, helping me through the process and providing the information I needed to understand the rights of children who have diabetes.”
She adds: “As parents we are the advocates for our children. We need to go above and beyond to ensure that they are okay. We should not have to worry about their health during the school day.”
The American Diabetes Association leads the effort to prevent and eliminate discrimination against people with diabetes at school, at work and in other parts of daily life. If you need help, call 1-800-DIABETES or visit http://diabetes.org/gethelp.
Through our nationwide Safe at School program, the Association is dedicated to making sure that all children with diabetes are medically safe at school and have the same educational opportunities as their peers. Visit our Safe at School website for information and resources.
Give the gift of fairness — donate now to help people with diabetes facing discrimination, just like Jazmyne.