Federal Court Rules Children With Diabetes in NYC Denied Equal Access to Field Trips and Bus Transportation

PR Newswire

ARLINGTON, Virginia and NEW YORK, January 27, 2022

ARLINGTON, Va. and NEW YORK, January 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In a victory for children with disabilities, a federal court today ruled that the New York City The Department of Education (“DOE”) routinely denies students with diabetes access to field trips and bus transportation, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”) and the new City of York Human Rights Act (“NYCHRL”). The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are the American Diabetes Association® (“Association”), the leading national diabetes organization, and three students with diabetes who attend New York City schools. Click here to read the notice and order.

(PRNewsFoto/American Diabetes Association)

Many students with diabetes require assistance with diabetes-related tasks to participate in field trips, but the DOE relies on unreliable contract nurses to fulfill field trip requests. From September 2016 through March 2020, traveling nurse requests were not met 23.2% of the time, which the City admitted was likely an undercount. As a result, parents are often forced to attend trips and look after their children themselves, otherwise the child may be left behind or the trip canceled for the whole class. Despite a policy of providing such traveling nurses, the Court ruled that this system is “clearly ineffective in practice” and unlawfully denies diabetic students the same access to excursions that able-bodied students can enjoy.

When it comes to bus travel, all students with diabetes need a trained adult on the bus to administer glucagon, a life-saving, epi-pen-like emergency medication that is used to treat severe hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) . Untreated severe hypoglycemia can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and even death. The DOE had argued that calling 911 was enough to keep these students safe, but the court disagreed, finding the precious minutes lost while waiting for emergency services was unnecessarily life-threatening. children at risk.

To remedy these breaches of the law on field trips, the Federal Court ordered the New York City to determine how many traveling nurses are needed to cover the shortfall and hire a sufficient number of nurses to act as a “floating pool” to ensure that students can attend all field trips. With respect to bus transportation, the Court ordered the defendants to train all bus drivers and bus attendants in the administration of glucagon, to ensure that each bus has a trained adult capable to respond in an emergency and to ride the bus safely and consistently.

Class action lawsuit challenging numerous shortcomings in providing proper care to students with diabetes has been filed November 2018 and plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”), the Association and Weir Greenblatt Piece LLP. The parties have been engaged in productive settlement negotiations for more than three years on numerous issues at stake in the lawsuit.

“Parents of New York Public School students with diabetes will now have the comfort of knowing that their children can ride the school bus safely and not be denied the opportunity to go on field trips with their classmates. class,” said Crystal Woodwarddirector of the American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School® initiative.

“Our family couldn’t be happier with this historic victory! It’s a new dawn not only for our son, but for the care of all children with diabetes in New York City public schools,” said Elena Ferrerthe parent of the named Claimant MF

“It is a huge boost for individual families to fight for equal access to public school services, so we are deeply grateful for this decision which will ensure that all public school children with diabetes can attending school trips and using school buses, just like all the other kids,” said Jaye Renardthe applicant’s parent named SI

“Today’s decision will have a critical impact on children with diabetes and their families,” said Torie Atkinson, Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates. “We look forward to continuing to work with the DOE toward a comprehensive settlement that further enhances the educational experience for these students.”

“This decision is the latest step in this historic litigation, which has already led to the nation’s largest school district agreeing to implement policies and procedures that benefit children with diabetes, as well as the broader group of students with disabilities,” said Alan L. Yatvina partner at Weir Greenblatt Pierce LLP and a long-time volunteer with the association.

The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages. Rather, the lawsuit seeks an overhaul of systemic DOE policies and practices governing the delivery of diabetes care to ensure that all students with diabetes receive appropriate care and can participate in all school programs.

About the American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve of the diabetes epidemic and help people with diabetes thrive. For 81 years, the ADA has driven discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes while working tirelessly for a cure. Through advocacy, program development and education, we aim to improve the quality of life for the more than 133 million Americans with diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes brought us together. What we do next will make us connected for life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Spanish Facebook (Asociación Americana de la Diabetes), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).

About Disability Advocates

Founded in 1993, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is the leading national nonprofit legal center for disability rights. Its mission is to advance the rights, inclusion, and equity of people with disabilities through high-impact litigation, education, and advocacy. DRA is proud to have delivered on the promise of the ADA since its inception. Through DRA’s unprecedented work, people with disabilities across the country have significantly improved access to health care, employment, transportation, education, disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing. For more information, visit www.dralegal.org.

Contact: daisy diaz703-253-4807
[email protected]

Torie Atkinson332-217-0167
[email protected]

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SOURCE American Diabetes Association

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