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Who Can Give Insulin Shots at School?

By Betty Wang, JD | Last updated on

Parents, do you know who can give insulin shots at school? A recent California Supreme Court case discussed this exact question.

The issue of insulin shots being administered at school may be on the minds of parents as the new school year gets underway. Consider that 8.3 percent of Americans, including many children, have diabetes.

While parents and physicians may administer insulin shots at home or at the doctor's office, who can give insulin shots for a diabetic child at school? Here is a general overview:

California Clarifies the Law

Last week, the California Supreme Court ruled that along with nurses, trained school personnel can also administer insulin to students at school. That's significant in California, where 26 percent of schools don't have any nurses on staff, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Along with a plain reading of the law, practical considerations also played into the decision. The court found that non-nurses (such as a student's parents, for example) safely administer insulin shots to children all the time.

So if laypersons can safety administer insulin to children outside of schools, then it should be allowed in schools as well -- if the shots are given by someone trained to do so, the court ruled.

What Other States Say

So what about other states? First, note that public schools generally do not ever allow students to self-administer medication, because of safety and liability issues.

Also, all states have local policies that specifically address the dispensing and administering of medication to children in schools. These policies can stupulate how shots are to be supervised, and who can administer them. You can check your state's laws about administering medication at school by clicking here.

Along with schools, many states also have laws and regulations in place about who can administer insulin shots at daycares. You may want to check out this state-by-state list from the American Diabetes Association to learn more.

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