New film highlights challenges of administering insulin in schools

The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund recently released a new film, highlighting the unique challenges of supporting children who need insulin shots during the school day.

The eight-minute film, titled Insulin in Schools: A Child’s Rights, centers on Jonathan, a child with Type 1 diabetes. Like many schools in California, Jonathan’s school lacked the resources to have a school nurse supply his insulin shots. In 2005, the American Diabetes Association, with the support of DREDF and Reed Smith LLP, sued the California Department of Education on his behalf, in order to allow school employees who aren’t nurses to be trained to administer insulin. After the parties reached a settlement in 2007, allowing school personnel to do so, a group of nursing organizations fought back. Specifically, they contended that allowing non-licensed personnel to administer insulin constituted “unauthorized practice of medicine,” in violation of state law.

After a series of decisions in favor of the nursing organizations, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jonathan in 2013.

The film, produced by Barbara Wright and Jonathan Mahmoud, tells the saga of Jonathan’s battle.

“As a proud collaborator in this work, DREDF is continuing to advance the principles of this case that protect the rights of many people living with other chronic conditions and/or disabilities, including those that are age–related,” DREDF said in a news release. “The question of who can provide what type of service is crucial to the people who need those services, and it is an issue that links a diabetes-related case with the broader disability rights community.

“We love seeing how members of this next generation of people with disabilities – like Jonathan — are using tools like video advocacy to tell their stories, continuing our community’s tradition of Nothing about us, without us.

In California, about 14,000 kids in California have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. However, there is just one nurse for every 2,200 students.

This video may begin with a commercial which was not chosen by or for the benefit of DisAbility Rights Galaxy.

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