A sixth-grader with diabetes has prevailed in a years-long legal tussle with local school officials, winning the right to conduct a common blood-glucose test while remaining in the classroom.
EAST HADDAM - A sixth-grader with diabetes has prevailed in a years-long legal tussle with local school officials, winning the right to conduct a common blood-glucose test while remaining in the classroom. Eleven- year-old Katelyn Cross and her family said they hope the out-of-court settlement, disclosed Monday, will send a message nationwide to school districts that do not allow diabetic students to administer the glucose-monitoring test at their desks.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven in 1996, Katelyn and her family complained the school board subjected her to undue ridicule and lost classroom time by forcing her to visit the nurse's office each time she needed to conduct the test. The suit alleges that the requirement violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
`It's been such a long fight and we finally made a difference. I feel wonderful,'' said Katelyn, noting she's well able to prick her finger and write notes at the same time.
According to the lawsuit, the glucose test requires Katelyn to prick her finger with a lancet and place a tiny blood sample into a device that determines in less than a minute whether her blood glucose level is in an acceptable range.
The test is typically done several times per day. In Katelyn's case, the results are used to adjust her glucose level through food, drink and tablets. In other cases, the results can be used to adjust insulin dosage. Katelyn, an Alger Road resident, this year transferred to a parochial school in Old Saybrook. But under terms of the settlement, should she ever re-enroll in East Haddam public schools, the board of education would let her regularly test her blood glucose in the classroom. Katelyn, who described her years of visits to the nurse's office as `unsettling,'' believes her crusade will benefit other diabetic students. The settlement does not set the sort of legal precedent that a verdict or court ruling conveys. But by publicizing the settlement, the Cross family hopes to spread the word to school districts throughout the country as they set policies governing the tests.