Parents want more school help for diabetic students

Parents want more school help for diabetic students

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)

Christina DeRamos checks her four-year-old son's blood sugar level over a dozen times a day.  Kaimana is diabetic.  Later this year he will begin kindergarten at Mililani Uka Elementary.

"As a parent with a child of Type 1 diabetes, it's a huge concern to literally let your baby go and just hope that it'll be okay," DeRamos said.

A Senate measure requires that public schools with diabetic students train at least three employees to help younger kids monitor their blood sugar and administer their meds. Senate Bill 1221 also allows older students to have their diabetes medications with them at all times.

"A child with Type 1 diabetes needs insulin 24/7," said Jane Kadohiro, diabetes educator with the American Diabetes Association.

She said public schools have health aides but not every one has a nurse.

"The health aides in their existing job description do not give medications and are limited in their scope," Kadohiro said.

State school superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said that a law is unnecessary and would increase workload and cost.

"Contracted nursing is available for students with diabetes who are unable to provide self-care during the school day, and every effort is made for the service to be provided at the student's geographic area school," she testified.

But DeRamos said some of her friends insist the school system has let them down.

"Some families had to leave the state because they weren't provided adequate care, and the parents felt uneasy," she said.

"The child cannot learn and reach their future potential in life if their health is not addressed," Kadohiro said.

Matayoshi said Public Health Nurses are trained in diabetes care, craft individual care plans and already train teachers and staff. 

Kaimaina's first day of school will be in July. DeRamos believes Mililani Uka's staff is ready to help him with his diabetic needs. She said a diabetes law could give other parents the same confidence.

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