Final Approval Ensures NYC Children with Diabetes Receive Appropriate Care in School

Settlement Will Improve Educational Opportunities of Over 1,000 Students and Families in NYC

Author: Disability Rights Advocates
Published: 2023/04/26
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: A federal court has approved a landmark settlement that will ensure children with diabetes in New York City receive the care they need to fully participate in school and school-related activities. 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. This settlement will improve the educational opportunities of more than 1,000 NYC students and families in this city who have struggled to get what they need at school,

Introduction

A federal court has approved a landmark settlement that will ensure children with diabetes in New York City receive the care they need to fully participate in school and school-related activities. This class action settlement resolves claims that New York City, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Office of School Health systemically failed to ensure that students with diabetes could attend school safely and have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ("Section 504"), and the New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL").

Main Digest

Under the Settlement Agreement, Defendants will modify their policies, practices, and procedures related to:

These reforms include:

The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For 82 years the American Diabetes Association has driven discovery and research to treat, manage, and prevent diabetes while working relentlessly for a cure.

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, Ph.D., J.D., 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. Previously, Judge Gershon granted Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment as to the routine denial of access to field trips and bus transportation.

On November 22, 2022, United States District Judge Nina Gershon granted preliminary approval to the proposed settlement and set a date of April 19, 2023 for a Fairness Hearing. The Parties sent notice so that members of the Class were aware of the Settlement and the Fairness Hearing, and none submitted written objections. On April 21, 2023, the Court granted final approval the Settlement, which now has legal effect.

"This extraordinary settlement will give NYC public school parents of students with diabetes the comfort and peace of mind in knowing their children will be safe at school as they receive care as prescribed by their child's diabetes health care provider," said Charles Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of the American Diabetes Association. "The American Diabetes Association is hopeful this settlement with one of the largest school districts in the country will motivate other school districts to examine their diabetes policies and practices and also offer parents and advocates another tool to add to their diabetes advocacy toolkit. This precedent setting outcome has the potential to ensure that students with diabetes in other states get the help they need at school."

"So many families like mine had their lives changed when their child was diagnosed with diabetes," said Yelena Ferrer, the parent of named Plaintiff M.F. "With this settlement, the transition at school will be easier, less stressful, and more fair for thousands of families like mine. I feel privileged to have been part of this amazing effort to vindicate my son's civil rights and ensure other kids with diabetes get the support they need."

"I am glad to have been able to help bring changes that will ensure children with diabetes in all New York City's public schools receive the care they need to attend school," said Jennifer Fox, the parent of named Plaintiff I.F. "By establishing system-wide obligations and standards of care, this settlement will relieve parents who are short on time, resources, or privilege, of the substantial, often prohibitive, burden of having to individually advocate for their child."

"This settlement will improve the educational opportunities of more than 1,000 students and families in this city who have struggled to get what they need at school," said Torie Atkinson, Senior Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates. "DRA is honored to represent these trailblazing clients to secure a remarkable settlement that provides a model for other school districts to meet the needs of students with disabilities, particularly students with diabetes."

"These reforms represent a sea-change for students with diabetes and their families. With these changes, children with diabetes will be safe as they equally participate with their classmates in school, on the bus, on field trips and in afterschool activities," said Alan L. Yatvin, Partner at Weir Greenblatt Pierce LLP and longtime American Diabetes Association volunteer. "We appreciate the time, effort, and commitment to change for the benefit of these children and families, shown by the City of New York and DOE attorneys, leaders, staff and medical professionals, in reaching this settlement."

Weir Greenblatt Pierce LLP is Philadelphia-based, full-service law firm representing businesses and individuals in a variety of practice areas, including: banking and finance, commercial, employment, criminal defense, civil rights, special education and disability rights.

This case was brought on November 2, 2018, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, by the American Diabetes Association, the nation's leading diabetes organization, and three parents of students with diabetes (identified as M.F., M.R., and I.F.) who attend New York City public schools. Plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates, the American Diabetes Association, and Weir Greenblatt Pierce LLP. The lawsuit sought an overhaul of the DOE's systemic policies and practices governing the delivery of diabetes-related care to ensure that all students with diabetes receive appropriate care and can participate in all school programs.

Founded in 1993, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is the leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center. Its mission is to advance the rights, inclusion, and equity of people with disabilities through high-impact litigation, education, and advocacy. DRA is proud to have upheld the promise of the ADA since our inception. Thanks to DRA's precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to health care, employment, transportation, education, disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing.

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication titled Final Approval Ensures NYC Children with Diabetes Receive Appropriate Care in School was selected for publishing by Disabled World's editors due to its relevance to the disability community. While the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity, it was originally authored by Disability Rights Advocates and published 2023/04/26. For further details or clarifications, you can contact Disability Rights Advocates directly at dralegal.org Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

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