Each student with diabetes must have a diabetes management and treatment plan developed by the parent and the student’s doctor. Principals of schools with students with diabetes must seek out school employees (other than health care professionals) to serve as unlicensed diabetes care assistants. A principal must attempt to ensure that the school has at least one unlicensed assistant if it employs a full-time nurse; if it has no full-time nurse, the school must have at least three unlicensed assistants. School employees may not be penalized or disciplined for refusing to serve as diabetes care assistants.
The assistants are trained by a health care professional on recognizing symptoms, understanding proper actions to take, understanding the details of the student’s health plan, performing finger-sticks and checking urine ketone levels, administering glucagon and insulin, recognizing complications requiring emergency care, and understanding recommended schedules and food intake. Before an assistant is allowed to help a child, the parent must sign an agreement that states that the parent understands that an unlicensed assistant is not liable for civil damages. Schools must allow students to self-check and self-medicate in accordance with the student’s health plan. TCTA added language to this law to avoid the creation of potential liability for school employees.
A school district employee may not recommend that a student use a psychotropic drug (a drug intended to affect perception, emotion or behavior), suggest a particular diagnosis, or prohibit a student from attending a class or participating in a school-related activity because of the parent’s refusal to consent to the student using a psychotropic drug or having a psychiatric evaluation. This law does not, however, prohibit a school district employee who is a registered nurse, advanced nurse practitioner, physician or appropriately credentialed mental health professional from recommending that a child be evaluated by an appropriate medical practitioner. It also does not prohibit an employee from discussing a student’s behavior or academic progress with the student’s parents or another school employee.
State law requires school boards to adopt a policy requiring a school nurse who becomes aware that a student has lice to provide written or electronic notice to the parent of the child as soon as possible (no more than 48 hours) and to the parents of children in the same classroom within five days. The notice must include information about treatment and prevention and the notice to other parents may not identify the child with lice.
Districts participating in the federal child nutrition programs must meet required nutrition standards for foods served by school food service or sold during the school day by the food service department, individuals and groups. Food that is given away during the school day (such as by parents for special occasions) is no longer subject to state regulations, but is subject to locally adopted nutrition policies. Details are available at squaremeals.org.
A law passed in 2017 allows districts to donate food, including surplus food from cafeteria meals, to be distributed on campus to students in need.