Back to Legislative News AFT Votes to Block Diabetes Care

The American Federation of Teachers Votes to Block Diabetes Care at School By Non-Nurses

From the American Diabetes Association Advocacy Newsletter:

Two weeks ago, we told you that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) would be voting on a resolution opposing the training and use of non-medical personnel to provide routine or emergency care to students with diabetes. We asked you to contact AFT with your own thoughts about why that resolution is dangerous for our children with diabetes.

Over 6,000 of you responded - an unprecedented and astounding number for a single action alert.

We have just learned that the AFT did indeed pass that resolution. AFT staff reported that it passed "without opposition". Furthermore, the organization has even put out a new brochure that urges teachers and non-medical school personnel not to provide care if asked, even if they have been trained by a diabetes expert. You can read the brochure (in PDF format) here. [Note: The AFT removed the PDF document from their web site the day after the ADA's advocacy e-mail was sent. Ed.]

Angry? So are we. Because we know this is not in the best interest of children with diabetes. Because it is dangerous. Because the health care professionals who have devoted their lives to caring for children with diabetes tell us that, in the absence of a school nurse, non-nurses can and should be trained to safely provide the care that children with diabetes need in school. Because this system has worked in schools around the country that have used trained non-medical personnel. Because parents of children with diabetes understand what care their children need and what training it takes to provide it.

You, and the 6,300 others who joined you, explained all of this to AFT. You wrote from the heart - as parents, friends, advocates and health care professionals - about the needs of children with diabetes that cannot be ignored when a school nurse is not present. Thank you for your overwhelming support. And save your strength - because this fight is not over and we will need your help again in the near future.

We will continue to keep working with AFT in an effort to minimize the impact this resolution may have upon the health and safety of our students with diabetes. Indeed, thanks to you, AFT has indicated a desire to hold a meeting among the various interested parties to try to move forward toward a resolution that is more acceptable to all involved.

For More Information

We will continue to report on efforts of American Diabetes Association to ensure that our children receive the care they deserve while at school.

Jeff Hitchcock
Founder, Children with Diabetes
July 25, 2004
Updated August 10, 2004

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