Out of town school field trips

I’m not new to this diabetes thing nor am I new to diabetes in school. But a recent event has left me shaking my head and as a parent I wonder if I have the right.

My son is in 5th grade and has had diabetes since he was 18 months old. He’s been at the same public school for 6 years here in Florida. I used to be allowed to go on field trips but not this year. There are two out of town day trips scheduled and I’ve been told by the principal that neither my husband or I can attend. They will have a trained teacher with him but I’m still not comfortable. We’ve let him go to trips in the city with the teacher but a full day at Sea World or Universal Studios is not something I want to leave to a teacher.

Anyone know if parents have a legal right to attend? I’ve already told him he couldn’t attend a Washington DC trip that was 3 days long and was assuming he could do these final two with us attending.

Anyone have any experience with this or where I could go for information?


Hi Stephanie,

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT protects your son from treatment such as this.


Your son can not be denied access to school related activities because of his diabetes. If you or your son’s doctor deem that your attendance on these trips is necessary for his safe care then you can attend. If you don’t have a comprehensive 504 in place, I suggest that you begin working on one as soon as possible. Issues like the one that you are experiencing now will continue to pop up and having a solid 504 in place will stop them from becoming a problem such as the one you are experiencing now.

I just began writing about my experience with putting a 504 in place, you can read about it here http://bit.ly/a9h7Eg

There are also a number of informative posts on this site dealing with the matter.

Good luck and don’t give in to their pressure. Show them the 504 act, make it clear that they can’t discriminate against your son because of his care needs and things will begin to go your way. They don’t want this fight but they will pressure you as long as they believe that you aren’t aware of your rights.

Go get em’!


Does he do most of his care on his own? Will the teacher be able to give the glucagon injection if needed? In some states the teacher is not allowed to do injections even if they are trained ( only a nurse is able to in my daughters school). If they are not allowed to give injections than I would bring it up the the principal. My daughter is in 4th grade (diabetic for almost 4 years) she has a pump and cgms so she does everything on her own at school with calls to me on her cell phone at pre-determined times and as needed. Will they allow him to call you during the trips?

We have a 504 plan. The issue is they are providing someone to take care of him on the trip. His Teacher. I am not comfortable with that for such a long day of activity. I just checked the past 5 years of 504’s and it’s always been in the plan that Mom or trained designee will attend. In this case mom wants to attend but the principal is stating no.

In his early years they never had a trained designee available and that was fine with me. Now they do and they’re saying no.

I haven’t talked to the principal directly so I’m setting up a meeting to see if we can work this out. I just need to know my backup plan if she continues to say no since they are providing someone.

Yes, he does most of his care. But I’m not comfortable with him running around Universal Studios and SeaWorld for a day without a close eye. In 6 years at this school he’s never had any kind of incident but this is a completely different setting.

He came home the other day at 39 from a friends house down the street. I recognized the signs but they weren’t easy. I guarantee a teacher would not have noticed.

So great that you have a 504 that covers this. I’d be stunned if you walked out of the meeting with the principle with anything less then an, “I’m sorry, see you on the trip”. If she still says no, I’d remind her that your 504 is a legal document that she is compelled to comply with. If she resists after that, (she’s a dope) I call the head of the school board or superintendent. They may better understand the gravity of her ignoring your 504. Let us know how it goes.

Thanks for the support. More than anything I need to know I’m not being unreasonable.

My son’s (also 5th grader) 504 Plan states that I will be going on field trips and if I’m not available the school district must provide a NURSE, not teacher, to go along. Our school district doesn’t have funds for this so I must go on all. The most recent one was a very small trip, no big deal. I asked the teacher if she needed me or if I could just stay at work and trust that someone would be keeping an eye out and making sure he had his meter, carbs, glucagon, etc. She decided it best that I go…
When I got to the school as they were getting on the bus he was already low. He tested at 80, gave insulin for lunch, went back to class to eat and the kids were already done and lining up to get ready to leave. They told him he could eat when they got there. So, he was down to 65 by the time I showed up and it’s a good thing I went. Unless the teacher truly understands living with diabetes, they don’t understand the level of care that goes into keeping the child safe. You are not being unreasonable at all.

Wow. I know my daughter’s teachers would be happy for the help. I’d explain, in great detail, to the principal EVERYTHING that can happen. I’d be surprised if the teacher had any idea what he/she is really in for. I wonder what the training was. And, how many people are supervising this trip? Your son’s teacher really can’t have responsibility for others if she’s going to take care of your son. If he’s low and needs her full attention, how will that be handled?

I would definitely be worried about full days at an amusement park. It’s a lot of walking, excitement and likely junk food eating. His blood sugar numbers are bound to be all over the place. I can’t imagine why the school wouldn’t want help with this. If the principal stands her ground, you might want to call the American Diabetes Association. I know they have people that handle legal issues. Good luck!

Thanks for all the responses. The funny thing is I’ve been going on field trips since he was in Kindergarten. Why I’m not allowed on these next two is beyond me. When he started K he was the only one with diabetes so no one had any idea about what should be in the 504 or how to watch out for him. I was there every day at lunch until 3rd grade. It wasn’t until the 4th grade where I didn’t go on some of the local field trips.

I’ve had too many occasions where I’m there and they decided to wait and have lunch at school instead of on the field trip. That changes his care and they don’t understand that.

This teacher knows about diabetes but not living with it. In the beginning of the school year we were impressed with her knowledge but when it came down to daily living with it in the classroom she expected it to go her way. She constantly asked him what his number was, why are you high, did you correct, you need to go to the nurse…etc…even though I specifically told her he can handle these types of decisions and he needs to learn how. So she’s the one on the trip with him and it’s not one on one, she’ll have a classroom.

Waiting patiently to hear from the principal now and will give update, hopefully a positive one, soon.

If they still tell you that you can’t go i would change his 504 to say a nurse or parent must be present on all field trips, etc.You can change the 504 any time during the year. I hope it works out.

I think the glucagon injection is your best bet. Even EMTs aren’t authorized to give a glucagon shot (at least in Maryland.) So unless my “trained designee” could guarantee they would be comfortable and able to do that, I’d fight that they aren’t actually “trained.” And then you have to go because otherwise they would be not following the 504. I mean we weren’t even allowed to get discharged from the hospital until we knew how to do that.

My fourth grader is going on his first “without mom” field trip next month, but my friend is going, and it’s 30 minutes away at an aquarium. But today’s field trip which was 2 hours away with no nurse, and a lot of walking - there is no way he would have gone without me.

Unfortunately I can’t push the Glucagon issue. They recently trained all the designees because no one was allowed to administer Glucagon, not even the nurse, on field trips until someone officially came to train them. That’s been done and the teacher is comfortable.

I just received a note from my Dr.'s office. The are stating I need to be on the field trip so I’ll take that with me. That should stop any argument. I hope.

Start to work on a 504 plan right away. Our little joke is that we can’t wait for someone to say “no” to us one day so that we can buy a jaguar with all the lawsuit money!!! We are very lucky that our daycare, preschool and school district have all been very helpful and supportive. If you are not sure what to do, contact your local ADA. They have sample 504 plans on their website that will give you an idea of what to do. Good luck to you!

I always maintaint that being politely assertive and plainly stating what one needs goes very far and will be shocked if the prinicipal doesn’t make an exception.

That being said, if I were in your shoes and the principal stood her ground, my next stop would be the superintendent’s office followed closely by the ADA or JDRF (or maybe ADA/JDRF then the superintendent). Good luck. We are waiting to see how everything turns out…

I’m waiting now for the principal to call me back. The kids are out of school here until April 6th so I’m not sure if that means I’ll have to wait that long. I am armed with 5 years worth of 504 plans that state Mom or trained designee and I have an email from the endo’s office stating I need to be there. I can’t imagine that I won’t be able to attend.

Would you believe they still said no? I cannot even begin to describe the frustrating conversation I had with the principal and then she had the nerve to tell me her grown son has diabetes. Must have been diagnosed at an older age. She said unless “someone” tells her otherwise we won’t be able to attend…The 504, dr’s email, none of it mattered. She acted like it was all her choice.

I can’t allow him to go without us. He came home the other day from a friends house and started getting irritable. It wasn’t until almost an thirty minutes later that I realized maybe he’s low. He was 39. That is his 2nd unawareness episode lately and I just don’t trust the teacher that much.

I will fight this regardless of whether he gets to go so future families don’t have to deal with this. And yes, it’s his last year. Counting down the days to June 1st.

Unbelievable. What about local media outlets? TV news programs might be all over a story like yours.

I would contact your ADA right away! I would also do what MKS mom suggested - call the papers/tv station and explain the situation. Who is the trained person that would be accompanying him on the trip? They cannot deny you a 504 plan or else you WILL be driving your son to school in a jaguar next year!!! Good luck and keep us posted. I am so mad at all those idiots out there!!!