M.F. v. NYC Department of Education

Scroll to case documents Date Filed: 11/01/2018 Status:

On November 1, 2018, Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”), the American Diabetes Association (“ADA”), and Alan L. Yatvin of Weir Greenblatt Pierce LLP sued the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) and other New York City agencies, alleging that these agencies systemically fail to ensure that students with diabetes can attend school safely and have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers. This constitutes a clear violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the New York City Human Rights Law.

By law, the DOE is required to develop a diabetes-care plan for all students with diabetes. These plans include protocols for measuring a student’s blood sugar, administering insulin, and planning for emergencies—necessary accommodations for anyone with type I diabetes. But these care plans are rarely ready by the first week—or even first few months—of the school year. Even after the plans are in place, students continue to miss critical instructional time when they are unnecessarily removed from the classroom for diabetes-related care that could be provided in the classroom. Frequently, the DOE refuses to extend these accommodations to after-school programs, field trips, and other academic enrichment opportunities, as the law requires. Their parents are often required to attend school or programs to provide care themselves.

Plaintiffs the American Diabetes Association and several children with diabetes who attend public schools in New York City and their parents, are suing to remedy this unjust and discriminatory situation. The DOE estimates that at least 2,000 students with diabetes attend New York City public schools. By law, the DOE’s obligations to these students are very clear: Provide routine and necessary diabetes-related care for students with diabetes in the appropriate setting based on the individual preferences and needs of the child, as well as during nonacademic and extracurricular activities, regardless of whether those activities occur before, during, or after the school day. Shifting the burden of care to parents during the school day or school-related activities is unacceptable.

Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages. Rather, the lawsuit seeks an immediate 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.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. A copy of the Complaint is available below.

On June 18, 2019, Judge Nina Gershon granted the motion for class certification. A copy of the Notice of Class Certification is available below.

The parties have been engaged in settlement discussions since shortly after the case was filed. However, Plaintiffs moved the Court on two issues: failure to provide assistance with diabetes-related tasks on field trips and on bus transportation. On January 27, 2022 a federal court ruled that the City of New York’s Department of Education routinely denies students with diabetes access to field trips and bus transportation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the New York City Human Rights Law.

In a victory for students with diabetes, the federal Court has ordered the City of New York hire a sufficient number of nurses to serve as a “float pool” to ensure that students can attend all field trips. With respect to bus transportation, the Court has ordered Defendants to train all bus drivers and bus attendants in the treatment of hypoglycemia, including the administration of glucagon, to ensure that every bus has a trained adult capable of responding in an emergency, and may safely and consistently ride the bus.

Disability: Case Area: