Type 1 diabetes at school: Rights and responsibilities

Like all students, children and youth with type 1 diabetes have rights at school.

Like all students, children and youth with type 1 diabetes have rights at school. Above all, they have the right to be:

  • Safe
  • Supported, and
  • Included

To ensure that these rights are respected for every student, school boards, school administrators, staff and families must work together.

Every school board must have a policy on supporting students with diabetes. Let’s look at what else is needed:

Right to safety

Type 1 diabetes is a medical condition that needs close attention, so keeping all students with diabetes safe is the top priority. To do that:

  • Each student needs an individual care plan, with details about how their diabetes will be managed during the school day.
  • All school staff must know the symptoms of low blood sugar, and what to do in an emergency.
  • Students must be able to treat low blood sugar or have a snack whenever they need to and wherever they are. The same applies to checking blood sugar or administering insulin.
  • Students need enough time to finish meals and snacks to prevent low blood sugar. Younger children may need supervision.

Right to support

  • At least 2 staff members must be trained to provide support. Even students who are independent need help sometimes.
  • Low blood sugar can affect a student’s ability to think. If they have low blood sugar before or during a test, they may need extra time to finish.
  • When blood sugar is high, students may need to go to the bathroom more often. They must be allowed to do this.

Right to inclusion

Students with diabetes do not want to be singled out in a way that causes embarrassment or stigma.

With some support and planning, they can participate in field trips, regular physical activity, and extracurricular activities. They can also be included in special events involving food or treats.

Regular health care appointments are an important part of diabetes management and education. School attendance policies should not penalize students for taking care of their health.

By working together, schools and families can ensure that students with diabetes are safe, supported, and included.

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