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Press Release

DOJ alerts independent K-12 schools about obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
With school starting soon, a reminder about inclusion – particularly for students with Type 1 Diabetes

Seattle – The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, is reminding independent schools of their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with respect to the accommodation of students with type 1 diabetes. There are approximately 215,000 Americans under the age of 20 currently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. A letter sent to independent schools in Seattle serving elementary and middle-school aged students, arriving this week, not only reminds educators of their obligations under the ADA, but also provides resources to assist schools in setting up policies and procedures for monitoring a child’s blood sugar in compliance with the ADA.

“Our office continues to receive complaints from parents that their school-age children with type 1 diabetes are not afforded full and equal access to services provided by independent schools,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. “I hope the letter, which is a reminder for schools, as well as the online resources referenced in the letter, will motivate educators and administrators to make the modifications necessary for a truly inclusive environment for all our children.”

The letter for the schools makes note of this settlement with a school in Louisiana. See Settlement Agreement Between the United States of America and Alexandria Country Day School, available at

The letter makes clear that staff at the school may need to be trained to support children with type 1 diabetes.  Where a parent or guardianand a child’s physician or other qualified health care professional deem it appropriate (based on the child’s current health status) for a child to be assisted in diabetes care by a layperson, training child care staff members to assist with routine diabetes care tasks, including the administration of insulin by pen, syringe, or pump, is generally a reasonable modification under the ADA unless an independent school can demonstrate that the individual circumstances cause a fundamental alteration to  its goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.  

The letter also offers online resources such as:

In addition to schools, DOJ has entered into settlements with childcare centers and summer camps that failed to accommodate children with type 1 diabetes. 

As the new school year begins, independent schools should examine their procedures to ensure a child’s diabetes care is integrated into the daily routine, with the proper support from school staff.

The full letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights unit is below.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated August 16, 2023

Civil Rights
Disability Rights