AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions


WHEREAS, diabetes is a serious disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life; and

WHEREAS, approximately 17 million people in the United States, or 6.2 percent of the population, have diabetes, and approximately 151,000 diabetics are children—that computes to one in every 400 school-aged children; and

WHEREAS, because people with diabetes are at great risk of developing serious health complications over time, including heart disease, blindness and stroke, proper care and management must occur every day throughout the day; and

WHEREAS, children with diabetes face the possibility of two significant challenges every day: hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia—either is serious; and

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) provide protection for children with diabetes and require that schools provide necessary accommodations for children with diabetes; and

WHEREAS, school-aged children with diabetes have an ethical and legal right to a quality public education and should be able to participate fully in all life experiences, including school and school-related activities; and

WHEREAS, school nurses who are licensed registered nurses are necessary to provide care to students with diabetes, which includes regular blood glucose monitoring, insulin injections, ensuring the proper type of diet and amount of exercise, and providing the appropriate assessment and response to emergencies when blood sugar levels are elevated or become dangerously low; and

WHEREAS, training non-medical school employees is an inappropriate alternative to hiring the necessary number of school nurses to care for students with medical needs; and

WHEREAS, training non-nurses to inject insulin and/or glucagon or to administer oral diabetes medicine is clearly in violation of state nurse practice acts in several states; and

WHEREAS, there is a danger of cross-contamination when treating children with diabetes if universal precautions are not in place and unlicensed personnel who are required to perform injections are generally unaware of the potential for cross-contamination; and

WHEREAS, AFT supports independent monitoring and treatment by diabetic students who are able to demonstrate to their school nurse their ability, competency and willingness to do so:

RESOLVED, that the AFT work to ensure that all students in our schools are safe and receive the highest quality of necessary health services; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT continue to lobby for at least one full-time licensed registered nurse in every school building; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT lobby against school nurses training non-healthcare school personnel as diabetes personnel; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT lobby against the use of non-healthcare school personnel trained to administer routine and emergency care to students with diabetes.