Refusal for Field Trip

My son is 11 and in 6th. grade. Yesterday his English class got permission slips to go see the play of a Christmas Carol in December. My son didn't get a permission slip so he went and told the teacher and she said he didn't get one because he can't go on the field trip. She said they can't take him because he has type 1 diabetes and it's a liability for the school. So he came home very upset. I called the school and they told me since it's a private school they don't have to comply with his 504 plan which I think is a bunch of bull ■■■■. This is a school that is k-12 he has been in this school since he was in kindergarten and has been on several field trips of which I attended all of them. He is in middle school now and wants to go by himself without his mom always there. He is capable of taking care of his diabetes by himself. We have Night Scout so I can monitor his blood sugar and text him on the field trip if I notice something he doesn't catch. They said the only way he can go is if I attend as well. Does anyone have any advice of what I could do to solve this issue??

I am heart broken that anyone would treat a child like this. Not sure when the field trip is, but I think this definitely worth a call to the American Diabetes Association. They can help you advocate for your son and his rights.

This is wrong on many levels. First of all, the Americans with Disabilities Act still prevents them from discriminating your son on the basis of diabetes. As a private school, they are still expected to provide reasonable accommodations for your child.

This is absolutely terrible. The lack of compassion this series of events relays is astounding. Why wouldn’t someone have contacted you in advance. Not only a terrible decision, but a horrible way to communicate it.

So you have a 504 plan in place and they are saying they don’t have to abide by it? I have several questions:

  1. What is the difference in liability on a field trip as compared to when he is at school? Is there someone onsite trained in care that will not be at the field trip?
  2. What does his 504 plan provide for field trips?
  3. What is the liability they are referring to?
  4. Does this school get any government funding whatsoever? We have private and parochial schools in our district that benefit from lunch programs, nursing staff and other things that they do not pay for and thus if they fail to comply with section 504 will put those fundings at risk.

Even if they get absolutely no funding, it doesn’t mean they can discriminate. It’s a little more difficult to deal with, but there are still some protections albeit not as strong.

I have an 11 year old as well. We considered a private school - his brother went to private school for middle school. He ultimately decided to put Caleb is public school and he has been on three field trips. We use nightscout too and I even watched his geographic location using iMessage - it worked out great. The first trip a nurse went with him, but all I’ve asked is for someone present to be trained in glucagon for an emergency. Staff have been very receptive to this and several have volunteered. The private school we were considering, although they don’t get a single penny of federal funding, were very receptive to Caleb’s needs and were willing to work with us simply because it’s the right thing to do. I am so sorry you are going through this. It’s simply terrible to be treated this way.

My son is 12 and also attends a private school. If they ever did that to him I don't know what I would do. Have you asked if you can sign something releasing the school from liability regarding his blood sugars while on the trip? Who cares for his sugars while he is at school? Do they have a nurse? Does he care for his own sugars at school? If not, who helps him? If someone helps him, can they go on the trip too? Or, if no one helps him then what is the big deal if he handles it all on his own on a trip?

My son handles all of his care on his own at school. He's had diabetes 9 years and knows what to do and if he doesn't it is as simple as calling me and asking what to do. I hope you get a resolution to this. The thought that he's being excluded because of his diabetes breaks me heart.

Wow - Have you asked what their concern is? Clearly he is able to be at school all day without you..... I would also ask who the other parent chaperones are and see if one of them will be in loco parentis for the field trip. Regardless of how you resolve this particular issue I encourage you to speak with the principal and get clarity on how the school plans to treat your son in the future. The current exclusionary policy should not be allowed to stand.

What state are you in? Are children with allergies also denied permission to attend field trips? They are just as much a risk. I would think that this is illegal even if the school is not receiving funds. Call your local office of civil rights. To say the least this school has handled this poorly. I would raise @@@!

I agree that this was poorly communicated, but I don't think there's anything illegal in what the school is doing. My son also went to private school all the way through eighth grade. They were very accommodating and pretty much allowed anything I asked for but they did require me to go on field trips. In eighth grade they let him go on a half day museum trip without me, but nothing longer or far away. How does he even have a 504 in a private school? What state are you in? Does the school receive any public money? Because that would definitely give you some ground to stand on.

As heart breaking and wrong as it is if the private school does not accept any federal funding then they are not legally obligated by law to take care of your son even if a 504 plan is in place.

My heart is breaking for your son, My son is 3 years old and I have had a difficult time finding daycare centers that will accept him, I went to one recently that told me it wasn't in their policy to "check" blood levels and would not accept him, I then explained that they took federal funding and they were legally obligated the woman blew me off and said her manager would call and never did...I gave it a week and reported them.

You first need to find out if they accept federal financial assistance (and most do) if they do then i will remind them of that. If they don't your hands are tied but you can also inform them that you will go to the local news with what they have done and that is a reputation I am sure they don't want.

I personally would do this and then take my child out of the school, I would not want him where it is obvious they have no compassion/ understanding of him.

I wish your family all the best and hope your son is doing ok emotionally.

Forgot the link to some information

I would say that it does not matter if you have a 504 or not. This is not a 504 issue this is a discrimination issue. Not allowing a child to go on a field trip is discrimination for any reason.

I live in Maryland and my son attends public school but once he entered middle school each year I have had to have a special field trip form signed by his doctor allowing him to go on field trips without a nurse and without glucagon. I am required to fill out part of the form which describes what hypo and hyperglycemia is and to circle his usual symptoms of hypo or hyper. The form goes with him on the field trip (with the teacher I presume) and he is required to carry a fast acting sugar with him in case he feels a low. My son very rarely goes low so it was not a concern for me that glucagon would not be available. This form is probably standard for public school but maybe you can make an agreement with the school to use it for your son. If there are other private schools in your area maybe you could just call and ask how they handle this situation and then you can inform your son's school of an alternative. I wish you luck and hope to hear news from you that all works out.

Even if Section 504 does not apply, it is important to examine a private school’s policies
and handbooks. They often include statements that the school will not discriminate that
may be enforced as a matter of contract. Another basis to seek proper treatment is tort law.
Schools may have a common law duty to assure care to its students in some situations. Additional information here......

Lorraine thank you so much. To answer your questions…

  1. There’s a school nurse that is trained in care and she will not be attending the field trip because they can’t leave the school without a nurse.
  2. It states in his 504 plan that he shouldn’t be excluded from anything because he has diabetes and that he is to be allowed to do anything the other kids do.
  3. The liability they are referring to is that if something was to happen such as very low blood sugar or high blood sugar where he wasn’t coherent enough to treat it himself they would be liable.
  4. Yes this school does get government funding they have a lunch program and nursing staff.
    I am very strongly considering putting him in public school because this is just ridiculous. He was diagnosed at 4 and we haven’t had any problems until this year. We have had a few problems with them not complying with his needs other than this situation.

He cares for his sugars while he is at school we text back and forth about numbers and how much insulin to give. There is a nurse at the school but she is not able to attend the field trip. They said that it’s different because even though he cares for his diabetes himself at school there is a nurse there incase something would happen and since the nurse won’t be on the field trip the school is liable. Thank you so much Penny.

Thank you so much everyone for all the replies and help it means a lot to me. I am working on resolving the issue the best I can. Luckily the field trip isn’t until December 17th. so I have some time to resolve this before then.

If the school has ANY federal funding, this is a violation.

I would call ADA at 800 diabetes.

Call the American Diabetes Association for sure.

ADA covers kids, whether the school gets federal funding or not.

504 covers kids if the school takes ANY federal funding. My kid’s private school did not even know that the Title II funds they use are federal and not state. You can’t count on them to know.

Also, when we had a problem with a non-profit, a non-profit disability law organization took the case for free and it was resolved quickly and easily.

I agree that it's worth a call to American Diabetes Association. They take their Safe at School initiative very seriously and have advocates that are trained to handle this and counsel you at no cost to you. Please call them. 1-800-DIABETES.

Thank you so much for the info. I am going to call if I can't get this resolved by having a meeting.