Insulin in California schools: State's high court considers shots

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Monday, June 3, 2013

California's largest nursing organization's courtroom bid to block public school employees from giving insulin shots to diabetic students appears to be on life support.

During an hour of arguments Wednesday, the California Supreme Court expressed concern about preventing unlicensed school employees from handling the insulin task when school nurses are unavailable, a common problem in school districts across the state experiencing a shortage of licensed nurses. The majority of justices appeared to reject the arguments of the California Nurses Association, which maintains that only licensed nurses should be allowed to administer insulin to diabetic schoolchildren.

When the association's lawyer argued that it is up to the state to fund more nurses, Justice Ming Chin responded: "But in the meantime, what about the kids?"

Justice Carol Corrigan also expressed concern for parents of the diabetic students."If I'm a parent of a first grader and there are no school nurses ... either we have to hope little Billy knows how to inject himself or I have to rush home from work," she said to association lawyer Maureen Cones. "Is that how it works?"

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