Diabetic students in Hawaii receive more resources under new law

Diabetic students in Hawaii receive more resources under new law

Kaimana DeRamos is a kindergartener at Mililani Uka Elementary. Like many five year old boys, he likes playing dinosaurs with friends. But Kaimana isn't like most five-year-olds. He has Type 1 Diabetes.

"He is one of the first students that we've had with Type 1 diabetes. So in any school, we are to keep children safe as well as responsible for their learning. But when they come with a health condition, sometimes we actually need additional personnel in order for them to continue to be safe," said school principal Heather Wilhelm.

House Bill 10, signed into law by Governor David Ige in July, now authorizes Department of Education employees to assist in the testing and management of diabetes for younger students. It also allows older students to self-test and self-manage their chronic disease.

Many schools have health aides but not all of them have a nurse. For Kaimana, a qualified and trained nurse follows him where ever he goes.

"Diabetes is considered a disability under the American with Disabilities Act, which qualifies them for accommodations," said Jane Kadohiro with the American Diabetes Association.

"So we've worked very hard to get this law passed, over 30-35 years…and we are really, really delighted our children will not only be safe medically at school, but they will be able to maximize their learning," Kadohiro said.

Almost exactly one month into the school year, Kaimana's mom says she's never felt so confident in sending her son to school. She says she hopes this new law will give other parents that same assurance.

"She follows him everywhere she goes. She carries an emergency pack on her, she checks his sugars...it's more than I could have ever imagined for his first time at school, so it couldn't have gone any much better," said Christina DeRamos.

Kadohiro says private schools are not covered under this new state law.

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