Safe at School

The ADA’s Lawsuit Against New York City Public Schools

On April 21, 2023, the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York approved a settlement agreement to resolve a lawsuit between the American Diabetes Association (ADA) joined with three families and the New York City, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Office of School Health. Read the press release here.

Under the Settlement Agreement, defendants must modify their policies, practices, and procedures related to: 

  1. planning to determine the needs of students with diabetes and how Defendants will meet those needs (called a “Section 504 Plan”)
  2. providing care such that students with diabetes are not excluded or segregated from their classmates
  3. training for staff and contractors (nurses, paraprofessionals, administrators, bus drivers and attendants, and teachers and other staff) and the provision of services during the school day and in afterschool activities.

These reforms include:

  • The development and adoption of a template plan for students with diabetes, based on the American Diabetes Association Model 504 Plan, to guide schools in preparing to meet the needs of students with diabetes;
  • Commitment that accommodations necessary to meet the needs of these students cannot be denied based on resources or available funding;
  • New timelines related to how school staff will plan to meet the needs of students with diabetes, including meetings to develop Section 504 plans and ensuring students can attend school with all accommodations in place on their first day of school;
  • Robust new training for nurses, paraprofessionals, teachers, administrators, bus drivers and attendants, and other school staff on how to care for a student with diabetes; and
  • Changes to ensure appropriately trained staff are available so that students with diabetes can attend field trips, eat with their classmates, ride the bus, and participate in sports and afterschool activities, alongside other children.

The Settlement also provides for robust monitoring and reporting and the appointment of the American Diabetes Association as the Joint Expert, and Peter D. Blanck, PhD, JD, as External Monitor, for a term of three school years. The settlement will apply to a class of students that have diabetes and are now or will in the future be enrolled in New York City Department of Education public schools. The class was certified by the Court on June 18, 2019. Click here to read the Class Certification Notice.

If you are a parent or guardian who needs assistance, contact the NYC Department of Education here.

On November 1, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a federal class action lawsuit with the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York against New York City, the New York City Department of Education, Office of School Health, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

The lawsuit, called M.F./American Diabetes Association v. New York City Department of Education, addresses these New York City agencies’ failures to meet their legal obligations under federal and city law. This includes NYC schools’ failures to provide diabetes care during extracurricular activities, failures to address barriers and undue delays to procedures for students with diabetes to get accommodation (through the “504 Plan” process), and failures to train school nurses and non-clinical school staff to provide diabetes care to students based on their individual needs.

On June 18, 2019, the court granted the plaintiffs’ motion making the lawsuit a class action on behalf of, “all students with diabetes who are now or will be entitled to receive diabetes-related care and attend New York City Department of Education schools.” Disability Rights Advocates represents the class. Alan L. Yatvin of Philadelphia law firm Weir Greenblatt Pierce LLP, represents the ADA.

Prior to this lawsuit, the ADA actively advocated for students with diabetes in New York State and New York City, including successfully leading the passage of legislation in 2014 which expanded the rights of students with diabetes by permitting trained, unlicensed school personnel to administer glucagon and granted students with diabetes the right to manage their diabetes in school, any place, any time.

On January 27, 2022, the court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment on two unresolved issues: 

  1. The failure of the defendants to provide diabetes care on field trips.
  2. The refusal to train bus drivers and bus attendants in the recognition and treatment of hypoglycemia, including glucagon administration.

The court found that New York City routinely denies students with diabetes access to field trips and bus transportation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, and the NYC Human Rights Law. The court ordered that a sufficient number of nurses be hired to serve as a “float pool” to ensure that students with diabetes could attend all field trips with sufficient diabetes management support. The court also ordered the defendants to train all bus drivers and bus attendants in the treatment of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose, also called blood sugar), including the administration of glucagon, to ensure that every bus has a trained adult capable of monitoring children with diabetes and responding to a child’s diabetes-related emergency.

New York City Public Schools Lawsuit Documents


This page will be updated with new developments and documents as available. Last updated 5/10/23.