Check out the wonderful article below about the success of Safe at School in Texas. The Carroll, Keller and McKinney school districts are featured in the article. Thanks to Sandy Peters and Veronica De La Garza for helping pull the article together. Hopefully, Texas will serve as an example for other states to follow! This appears in our national publication, Diabetes Forecast.
Safe at School legislation has made life better for kids with diabetes in Texas
At 13 years old, Liam Rhodes of Southlake, Texas, is something of a phenomenon among kids with type 1 diabetes. He’s never been sent out of a classroom to check his blood sugar. He’s never had to miss a field trip or eat his lunch in the nurse’s office. He’s always attended the school that’s convenient for him and his family. And trained staff members are prepared to help Liam in case of a blood glucose emergency should the school nurse be unavailable.
For many families of children with diabetes, that sounds like a pipe dream. But for Liam (left) and his family, it’s a reality. They live in Texas, a state that enacted legislation in 2005 protecting the rights of kids with diabetes in school. The law came about in part because of the American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School® campaign’s advocacy efforts to make sure children are given the access to diabetes care and fair treatment they deserve while in school and at school activities.
At the time, Texas became one of just 11 states with laws in place to protect kids with diabetes. Since then, the struggles that some families used to face with adequate diabetes care in school are no longer an issue in the state, says Veronica De La Garza, advocacy director for the ADA in Texas.
Fighting for Fairness
The picture is grimmer in some states without Safe at School laws. Even though federal laws such as the Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 504 protect kids with diabetes from discrimination, kids in some states don’t receive needed care and are treated unfairly. In some schools, there is no one trained or available to help kids who can’t manage their diabetes on their own. Some schools require children with diabetes to check their blood glucose levels in the nurse’s office instead of as needed in the classroom. Schools sometimes prohibit kids with diabetes from taking part in extracurricular activities unless their parents or guardians are present. And in some places children are sent to “diabetes schools” when no one is authorized or available to provide diabetes care.
That’s why the Texas legislation was so pivotal for the welfare of children in the state. It meets three key Safe at School tenets:
- Trained school personnel are permitted to administer an emergency injection of glucagon, a hormone that raises blood glucose levels during an episode of severe low blood glucose (hypoglycemia).
- Trained school personnel are permitted to give or help give insulin.
- Students capable of self-managing their diabetes are permitted to do so anywhere, anytime on campus or at school-sponsored events.
Kids with diabetes still should have a 504 plan, a legal document that outlines the needs of the child with diabetes and the responsibilities of school staff members to provide necessary accommodations and care. But the law makes providing such care truly possible. “The Texas Safe at School law enhances the ability of Texas schools to meet their 504 obligations,” says Crystal Jackson, director of the ADA’s Safe at School campaign. “It allows someone in addition to the school nurse to provide routine and emergency care to the student with diabetes. It gives parents the comfort they need that they’re sending their child off to a safe school environment.”
Change for the Better
Enshrining those rights in law helped make life much easier for kids with diabetes. The Houston Chronicle reported at the time of the law’s passage that some parents had to leave work several times a day to administer their child’s insulin. Other students missed “countless” hours of class because they were in the nurse’s office. Others weren’t allowed to leave the classroom, even when they felt they had dangerously low or high blood sugar.
Those situations have not been an issue for Liam and other kids who have attended Texas schools since the law was signed. “There’s never been anything that we’ve asked for that [Liam’s school] has said, ‘Oh, that’s not going to work,’ ” says Traci Rhodes, Liam’s mom. Liam was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 23 months old, and when he started kindergarten, he was already able to check his blood glucose himself. He also started on an insulin pump that year. Rhodes says that Liam’s school nurse was instrumental in encouraging him to manage on his own, which is supported by Texas law. And when he does need help, his teachers and other school staff are trained so they can step in and assist him.
Shayne Wormsbaker, of Keller, Texas, knows that these changes didn’t happen overnight. His son, Ashtyn, now 18, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 8 years old—about a year before the law was passed. The Wormsbakers were worried diabetes would make life difficult for Ashtyn, particularly on school field trips and in the cafeteria. But once the law passed, Wormsbaker says the Keller Independent School District worked to address all their concerns.
“Two things really stick out to me about that time: The cafeteria was open to providing the carb count for their meals. My son wanted to eat with the other kids and have what they were having,” Wormsbaker says. He also remembers some kids who couldn’t go on field trips unless a parent was able to attend. That changed after the legislation and the school district responded. “They went out of their way to make accommodations to make sure there was a nurse that accompanied him and another child, and updated parents throughout the day.”
That’s all part of the plan, and what makes Safe at School legislation so effective, says Cindy Parsons, RN, director of health services for the Keller district. Parsons oversees 40 registered nurses and nine licensed vocational nurses, who care for more than 100 kids with type 1 diabetes in the 34,000-student district. Parsons says the Keller district was “very supportive” of the Safe at School legislation and training non-nursing staff to provide diabetes management assistance to students who need it.
Even though most Keller schools have a full-time nurse on duty, Parsons says, “it is essential for the students to have a staff member trained and readily available to take care of the students’ needs during the day. Students are able to attend school, and parents are able to work.” So nurses trained school employees, including teachers, office staff, and coaches, to meet the law’s requirements. It took about a year to implement, and “there was a little resistance from some school staff in the very beginning,” Parsons says. “But after they were educated, trained, and had a chance to work with individual students, they became more comfortable.”
The importance of the law was shown almost immediately, when then 11-year-old Sarah Myer had a seizure on her school bus in late 2005. Her bus driver, Corey Crane, had been trained to help Sarah in a diabetes emergency and also carried a folder (crafted by Sarah’s school nurse, Brandy Rose) outlining what to do. The steps he took saved Sarah’s life. Sarah’s family called Crane a hero in the Herald Democrat newspaper later that month.
In the near-decade that’s passed, diabetes awareness has only grown—and that’s a good thing, says Julie Blankenship, BSN, RN, district director of health services at McKinney (Texas) Independent School District. During training she’s provided, Blankenship says only one or two teachers have seemed uncomfortable learning to help students with diabetes. Overall, the changes have been positive. “The awareness for the student with diabetes regarding all facets of the school day has increased. Teachers now understand the role that blood glucose level plays in the thinking process,” she says. “Even the PTA/PTO moms are now aware of the significance of considering the student with diabetes in party planning and snacks.” And that’s leading to healthier, safer schools for all.
FERIA DE SALUD DALLAS OFFERS FREE HEALTH SCREENINGS SEPT. 20
Live Music, Food, Vendors, Health Classes and More!
Join more than 3,000 Dallas residents and receive free health screenings at Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Feria de Salud on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Latino health fair, sponsored by Texas Health Resources and hosted by the American Diabetes Association, will take place at Kidd Springs Park and Rec Center, 711 W. Canty Street in Dallas. Free health screenings include diabetes, cholesterol, vision, dental, foot and blood pressure.
“I am very excited about the event, and I think it’s a great event for the Hispanic community,” said Esteban Mojica, co-chair. “This is an event that brings unity and outreach all in one.”
The Feria de Salud’s entertainment will feature music by 106.1 KISS FM’s Latin House Krew. The kids’ zone, sponsored by YMCA and the City of Dallas, will feature a rock-climbing wall, bounce house, and face painting. This year’s event will also include a family fun walk around the lake to win prizes, sponsored by Novo Nordisk. And the Latino Culinary Institute will be conducting a food demonstration.
Health screenings will be offered by: Walgreens, Dallas Diabetes and Endocrine Center, Baylor Heart and Vascular Center, Carter Blood Care, Family Foot Clinics, Parkland, Women’s Specialty Center and Walmart Vision. Media sponsors are Univision Television and Radio.
Diabetes is a serious illness that affects Latinos in disproportionate numbers: one in seven Latinos has diabetes in comparison to one in twenty non-Latino whites. Diabetes is an incurable disease caused by the inability of the body to produce insulin or for cells to absorb it correctly. The complications of diabetes include kidney failure, heart disease, vision deterioration, and lower limb amputations. If trends continue, one in two Hispanic children born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
For information about diabetes, please call 1-888-DIABETES, or 1-888-342-2383.
Read for Summer Fun! Plan to attend this wonderful opportunity offered through our partnership with Texas Health Resources. This 2 day summer camp is offered at Glen Lake Camp at a very minimal fee for registration only and is geared to children who may be at risk for diabetes. An individual, church groups, club or community groups are welcome. Register now, while space is still available, made possible by Texas Health Resources. If you are interested in attending, please contact me at email@example.com or RoschandaFletcher@texashealth.org. For more information call 682-236-7190.
Thank you for your support and pass it on!
Click the link to see the PDF with more details…THR Youth Summer Camp(1)
We hope your child will join us for Texas Health Resources’ Youth Summer Camp, aimed at teaching lifelong skills to help prevent diabetes. Each year the number of children diagnosed with diabetes increases. Texas Health Resources in partnership with The Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church and Glen Lake Camp are offering a camp for children to learn skills for healthy living and nutrition. This camp will help children who are ready to make important changes in their life.
GG11255 6/14 Q1,000 EP
Texas Health Resources
Youth Summer Camp
Expand Your Child’s Knowledge on Healthy Living and Nutrition
• Learn the importance of proper nutrition and exercise
as it relates to diabetes risk
• Participate in engaging educational sessions, such
as how to read a nutrition label and prepare healthy
• Enjoy fun physical activities such as hiking, fishing,
canoeing and others to keep children active at camp
Parents of children who attend this camp will be
encouraged to attend an educational seminar to support
what your child learns at camp. This educational session
for parents will be held from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday,
Who Should Attend
Students entering 5th and 6th grades
When: Saturday, September 13
— Check-in begins at 6:30 a.m.
— Camp starts at 7:45 a.m.
Sunday, September 14
— Camp concludes at 2 p.m.
Where: Glen Lake Camp
1102 Barnard St., Glen Rose, Texas 76043
Contact us for additional information or to
register at 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355)
Join us when award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson comes to Concord Church to share her story of living with type 2 diabetes. Merkerson has partnered with Merck on the America’s Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals program and is encouraging African Americans with type 2 diabetes to know their A1C—their average blood sugar level over the past 2 to 3 months—and talk to their doctors about setting and attaining their own A1C goal.
Set and Attain Your A1C Goal The American Diabetes Association’s guidelines recommend many people with diabetes have an A1C of less than 7 percent to help reduce the risk of complications. For certain individuals, a higher or lower A1C may be more appropriate, which is why it is important for people with diabetes to speak with their doctors to find out what A1C goal is right for them. Nearly half of people with diabetes are not at an A1C of less than 7 percent.
Take the Pledge!
Visit www.AmericasDiabetesChallenge.com to pledge to work with your doctor to know your A1C and set and attain your A1C goal. Friends and family can pledge to challenge their loved ones to get to their A1C goal. You can also join the America’s Diabetes Challenge community by visiting
S. EPATHA MERKERSON VISITS
CONCORD CHURCH ON AUGUST 14, 2014
AT 6:30 P.M.
Keller High School senior, Ashtyn Wormsbaker doesn’t let his diabetes keep him from zipping through the air at Palo Duro Canyon. Of course, he takes his diabetes supplies along. Ashtyn plays a very active role in the Keller ISD School Walk to Stop Diabetes. He encourages you to recruit your local school to register to participate in American Diabetes Association’s School Walk to Stop Diabetes program. To register go to www.diabetes.org/schoolwalk or email Sandy Peters firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Dubowy Posten MD, MBA, CEO MSH Biopharma
President, America Diabetes Association Leadership Board
Dr. Rebecca Dubowy Posten has served on the DFW Leadership Board since 2012. She is the CEO of MSH Biopharma, which is owned by her and her husband. Dubowy Posten is a graduate of Harvard University, Yale University Medical School and University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She has two children ages 6 and 8.
The ADA caught up with her recently to ask her a few questions about her involvement.
- Why did you choose to volunteer for the American Diabetes Association?
I have a true passion and interest for wellness and health, and I feel the ADA does so much more than treatments like education and prevention. That’s how I initially became involved.
- Do you have any personal reasons for wanting to help ADA prevent and cure diabetes? If yes, what are they?
Yes. My mother-in-law has diabetes.
- What is your favorite part of volunteering?
It’s been such a rewarding experience overall. I enjoy feeling like I can contribute to raising awareness of diabetes. I loved participating in the Tour de Cure. I loved handing out educational materials at FC Dallas games with Blue Cross Blue Shield and Novo Nordisk. I liked the number of people who said, “I don’t think I’m at risk, but other family members might be and I can take this brochure to give them.” It’s a great tool that gives them the ok to talk to people about diabetes.
- Where do you live now and where did you grow up?
I live in Dallas now, but I grew up in upstate New York. My husband did his fellowship here in Dallas. When he finished his fellowship and went into practice, we had a choice. We just love the community in Dallas. It’s just a friendly, lovely place to live.
- If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
“Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen” because my little girl loves that song. It would be a duet.
- When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor. (She answers right away.) Since I was 12 years old, all I wanted to do is women’s health. Before that I wanted to be a marine biologist first, then veterinarian second, then doctor.
- What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
Be with my family. Run and play tennis.
- If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
People tell me I resemble Rose Byrne, so let’s pick her.
- What would you consider some of ADA’s biggest accomplishments?
It’s creating awareness among the high risk population and creating real community support and education about diabetes. The ADA is educating a community to educate themselves.
The Division for Family and Community Health at the Texas Department of State Health Services is currently conducting a statewide assessment of the health and safety of Texas mothers and children. This assessment will help guide our priorities of how to improve the health of Texas families for the next five years.
Part of that assessment is this survey, which asks people about the perceived health needs and strengths in their community. We are seeking input from ANY Texas resident who is 18 years of age and older. Survey participation is voluntary and anonymous, and the survey should only take 10 minutes to complete.
There are 2 links available:
Please share with everyone in your network. Our goal is to reach as many Texas residents as possible so we have a realistic picture of communities around the state. After all, community members can see the needs and strengths of their own community in a way that we cannot, and we want that local perspective.
The survey will be open until September 15, 2014. If you have questions or need assistance with this survey, please contact MaternalHealth@dshs.state.tx.us
We appreciate your support, outreach, and input!
La División de Servicios de Salud Familiar y Comunitaria del Departamento Estatal de Servicios de Salud de Texas está realizando actualmente una evaluación de la salud y la seguridad de las madres y los niños de Texas, en todo el estado. Esta evaluación nos ayudará a orientar nuestras prioridades en torno a cómo mejorar la salud de las familias en Texas durante los próximos cinco años.
Parte de esa evaluación es la presente encuesta, en la que se pregunta a la gente sobre las necesidades y los puntos fuertes que perciben en el campo de la salud en su comunidad. Buscamos las aportaciones de TODOS los residentes de Texas de 18 años de edad en adelante. Su participación es voluntaria y anónima, y se necesitan solo 10 minutos para contestar la encuesta.
Tenemos 2 enlaces a su disposición:
En inglés: http://tvneedseng.questionpro.com
En español: http://tvneesesp.questionpro.com
Por favor, comparta esta información con todos aquellos a su alrededor. Nuestro objetivo es llegar a tantos residentes de Texas como sea posible, a fin de poder tener un panorama realista de las comunidades de todo el estado. Después de todo, los miembros de la comunidad pueden ver las necesidades y los puntos fuertes de sus propias comunidades de un modo que nosotros no podemos, y por eso queremos tener acceso a esa perspectiva local.
La encuesta estará abierta hasta el 15 de septiembre de 2014. Si tiene alguna pregunta o necesita ayuda con la encuesta, comuníquese por favor a la dirección de correo electrónico MaternalHealth@dshs.state.tx.us
¡Agradecemos su apoyo, su participación y sus aportaciones!
ATTENTION ALL PTA’s: Join in on the fun and register for a School Walk to Stop Diabetes! Our School Walk program is an educational school fundraiser that promotes healthy living, school spirit and community involvement. While raising money for the American Diabetes Association, students learn about diabetes and the importance of making healthy choices including eating nutritional foods and exercising every day. The money raised through School Walk to Stop Diabetes helps fund diabetes research, education and advocacy in support of the mission of the American Diabetes Association. If your school raises over $1,000, 10% of all funds raised go BACK to your school! If interested, contact Sandy Peters (972)-392-1181 x6030, email@example.com