Sadly, some schools attempt to deny children with diabetes permission to attend field trips, without a parent being in attendance. This is a form of “adult bullying”, and of course, it is illegal. Parents are usually welcomed to attend field trips with their children, and should, by choice only, not because they feel pressured or bullied by the school administration, but because they want to experience the excitement of the class outing with their child. If your child has been recently diagnosed with diabetes or is very young, he/she may find comfort in having a parent nearby (at least for their first field trip adventure).
Education is intelligence power, and by you knowing that if a public school denies your child to attend a field trip is discriminatory and illegal, you will have the upper hand. To protect the rights of your children, it is important to be aware of the federal and state laws in your area.
In addition, you want to set up a 504 Plan, to ensure that your children will not fall victim to discrimination, due to their disability, namely diabetes. The plan should detail who at the school will assist your child with their diabetic needs. How, where and when blood sugar testing is to be conducted should also be outlined in the 504 Plan, as well as how off-site activities (such as field trips) will be handled. Parents are encouraged to work with the school personnel, to create a plan that effectively works for all involved parties.
Although there is not a right time to set up a 504 Plan, they are usually created at the beginning of the school year, or shortly after your child has been diagnosed with diabetes.
The 504 Plan should cover all school-sponsored events, even activities such as field trips to the zoo, museums and science centers that are off school grounds. As outlined in the “plan”, it is the school’s responsibility, to ensure that medication and all needed diabetic supplies (such as testing strips) are available and on-hand, especially during a school-sponsored field trip.
Once the school and staff (teachers, nurses and aids) are informed and educated on the special needs of your child, they are more understanding of the legal rights afforded to your child, and also they are better equipped to meet the physical and emotional needs of your diabetic child.
Of course, you must speak with your child and make sure they understand their responsibility, in their own health care. It is important to re-visit this conversation with your child, as often as circumstances change with age.