Diabetes Care in Public Schools: American Nurses Association v. Torlakson

October 23, 2015


On August 12, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in American Nurses Association v. Torlakson, a landmark case involving diabetes care in California public schools. Public school students with diabetes who cannot self-administer insulin are normally entitled under federal law to have it administered to them during the school day. This case presented a dispute over whom state law permits to administer that insulin.The California Supreme Court agreed with plaintiffs’ interpretation of state law to allow school personnel, who are not nurses, to volunteer and be trained to help children with the insulin they need to survive and thrive at school.


In its decision, the court noted that Califoria state law in effect leaves to each student‟s physician, with parental consent, the question whether insulin may safely and appropriately be administered by unlicensed school personnel, and reflects the practical reality that most insulin administered outside of hospitals and other clinical settings is in fact administered by laypersons.


The decision was a critical victory for the estimated 14,000 California schoolchildren with diabetes and their right to diabetes care during the school day. This case has broad implications for many people living with other chronic conditions or disabilities. The question of who can provide what type of service and where is crucial to the people who need those services. You can read the decision here


Martha Millar Law

California special education and special needs lawyer





Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting. 

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