An agreement recently reached by Loudoun County public schools and the U.S. Department of Education about caring for students with diabetes could have ramifications for other school districts nationwide.
In every Loudoun school attended by diabetic children, the district must have three full-time staff members trained to care for those students, according to the Oct. 25 agreement. One such school employee also must be present on any school-sponsored field trip and extracurricular activity in which diabetic students are involved.
In addition, bus drivers and other school system employees who are in contact with diabetic students must be trained to spot warning signs that the student is not well and must learn recommended schedules for meals, snacks and exercise, the agreement says.
Loudoun parents filed a complaint with the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights after school officials would not allow anyone but registered nurses to administer glucagon injections to students. The shots are given to diabetics whose blood-sugar levels are dropping and are in danger of having a severe reaction.
But a bill passed last spring by the Virginia legislature required the district to change its policy. The new law allows nonmedical school personnel to give the shots in an emergency.
The civil rights agreement provides even greater care to diabetic students, said Shereen Arent, an attorney for the American Diabetes Association. Though not binding, it could be a model for other school districts to follow, she said.