Safe at School

North Carolina

1. Does North Carolina allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer insulin?

Yes. Trained school staff can administer medication prescribed by a doctor. Even though insulin is not specifically mentioned, it is permitted because any appropriately prescribed medication can be administered, regardless of route of administration:

It is within the scope of duty of teachers, including substitute teachers, teacher assistants, student teachers, or any other public school employee when authorized by the board of education or its designee, (i) to administer any drugs or medication prescribed by a doctor upon written request of the parents, (ii) to give emergency health care when reasonably apparent circumstances indicate that any delay would seriously worsen the physical condition or endanger the life of the pupil, and (iii) to perform any other first aid or lifesaving techniques in which the employee has been trained in a program approved by the State Board of Education. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-375.1.

2. Does North Carolina allow school staff members who are not health care professionals to administer glucagon?

Yes. As stated above, trained school staff can administer medicine and diabetes care, including giving "emergency health care." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-375.1(ii).

3. Does North Carolina allow students to self-manage diabetes at school?

Yes. Capable students can self-administer diabetes care:

Information to be included in a diabetes care plan, including the responsibilities and appropriate staff development for teachers and other school personnel, an emergency care plan, the identification of allowable actions to be taken, the extent to which the student is able to participate in the student's diabetes care and management, and other information […] N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-12 (31)(c).

4. Does North Carolina allow students to carry diabetes supplies such as needles, insulin and blood glucose testing devices?

Yes. Although the law itself in silent, guidance from the North Carolina Board of Education requires schools to allow a student immediate access to care supplies:

The school will ensure that the student has immediate access to supplies and the assistance of a staff member trained in the treatment of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). The school will also [m]ake treatment for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) available as close as possible to student's location, including the classroom, indoor and outdoor physical education activities, school evacuations for fire drills, bomb threats or other emergencies, and other school-related events or activities. Students must have immediate access to their supplies at all times.

5. Are North Carolina guidelines for diabetes care at school North Carolina students with diabetes protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act?

Yes. North Carolina law makes clear that the North Carolina Board of Education must ensure compliance with Section 504:

The State Board shall adopt guidelines for the development and implementation of individual diabetes care plans. The State Board shall consult with the North Carolina Diabetes Advisory Council established by the Department of Health and Human Services in the development of these guidelines. The State Board also shall consult with local school administrative unit employees who have been designated as responsible for coordinating their individual unit's efforts to comply with federal regulations adopted under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 794. In its development of these guidelines, the State Board shall refer to the guidelines recommended by the American Diabetes Association for the management of children with diabetes in the school and day care setting and shall consider recent resolutions by the United States Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights of investigations into complaints alleging discrimination against students with diabetes.

For more information, see the following resources: