UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND WEST INTERMEDIATE
SCHOOL UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
- The parties to this Settlement Agreement are the United States of America and Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, located in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
- This matter is based on a complaint received by the United States Attorney’s Office alleging that West Intermediate School, which is part of the Mt. Pleasant Public School system, discriminated against a student on the basis of disability by failing to reasonably modify its policies and procedures for students requiring assistance with diabetes care, in violation of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq. The District denies the allegations, and expressly denies that it violated the ADA in any way.
- The United States Department of Justice (“United States”), of which the United States Attorney’s Office is a component, is responsible for enforcing title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131 -12132, and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.
- Complainants are the parents of an individual with a disability within the meaning of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12102; 28 C.F.R. § 35.104. Diabetes is a physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities including, but not limited to, the operation of the endocrine and digestive systems (major bodily functions). As such, diabetes is a disability under the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12102; 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.
- Mt. Pleasant Public Schools is a general powers school district within the meaning of the Revised School Code. As a general powers school district, it is a local municipal entity and is obligated to comply with the requirements of title II of the ADA. See 42 U.S.C. § 12131; 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.
- Title II of the ADA prohibits public entities from discriminating against any individual on the basis of disability, including by excluding such individual from participation in or denying such individual the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of the public entity. 42 U.S.C. § 12132; 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(a). Title II requires public entities to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity. 42 U.S.C. § 12132; 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(b)(7).1
- Ensuring that children with disabilities have equal access to attend their locally zoned public school or magnet school is an issue of general public importance. The United States is authorized to investigate alleged violations of title II of the ADA. The United States is also authorized to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. If voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, the Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. § 12133 to bring a civil action enforcing Title II of the ADA. See 42 U.S.C. § 12133; 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F.
- Mt. Pleasant Public Schools has fully cooperated with the United States' investigation concerning the above-referenced complaint.
- The United States and Mt. Pleasant Public Schools agree that it is in all the parties' best interests, and the United States believes that it is in the public interest, to resolve this complaint on mutually agreeable terms without litigation and have therefore agreed to the terms of this Agreement. Accordingly, the School District, without admitting liability or wrongdoing, and the United States, without requiring such an admission or conceding that its claims are not well-founded, have agreed to resolve this matter as set forth below. 10. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the United States agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit in this matter, except as provided in paragraph 21 of this Agreement.
- Consistent with the ADA, Mt. Pleasant Public Schools (the district) shall continue to refrain from discriminating against any individual on the basis of disability, including diabetes, and will continue to provide all children with diabetes with an equal opportunity to attend their locally zoned public school or magnet school and to participate in all of its programs, services, or activities.
- Mt. Pleasant Public Schools agrees to continue making reasonable modifications and accommodations for children with diabetes so that they may attend their local zoned school and continue to participate in all of the programs, services or activities provided by the district. Such continued modifications may include having trained non-medical personnel supervise, monitor, and, when necessary, assist children with diabetes care including, but not limited to conducting blood glucose monitoring tests; administering insulin via: insulin pumps, syringes, or insulin pens; and administering Glucagon if needed. Modifications may also include, but are not limited to: (i) supervising or monitoring the consumption of food and/or beverages; (ii) permitting students with diabetes to independently carry and use diabetes supplies and medications during the school day and during all school-sponsored trips and afterschool activities, where sanctioned by their physician or other qualified health care professional; (iii) permitting students with diabetes to carry and consume food and water throughout the school day and during all school-sponsored trips and activities; (iv) permitting students with diabetes to use the restroom as needed and (iv) counting and tracking carbohydrates for students with diabetes. Such reasonable modifications will apply while students are participating in any program, service, or activity offered by the district, whether on the districts premises or elsewhere. In determining what reasonable modifications it will make, the district will give preference to reasonable modifications requested by the student with diabetes and the student's parents or guardians.
- Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this agreement, the district will submit an administrative guideline governing procedures for diabetes care at all schools in the district to the United States for its review and approval. These procedures shall include a method for parents or guardians to request a reasonable modification for a child with diabetes, a description of the steps that the school will take to ensure that children with diabetes receive appropriate care based on that child's individual needs, and a complaint procedure that parents or guardians can follow if they believe their child is not receiving appropriate care.
- Within thirty (30) days of the United States' approval of the administrative guideline governing diabetes care, the guideline will be prominently posted on the homepage of the district's website, and students and their parents and/or guardians will be notified via memorandum of the new guideline.
- After the United States' approval of the administrative guideline governing procedures for diabetes care at Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, the district will provide training to personnel that follows the training guidelines and curriculum suggested by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Diabetes Association (available at http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/diabetes-care-at-school/) and as outlined below. Training will be administered by a school nurse or certified diabetes educator, and will be repeated when a current student is diagnosed with diabetes, when a student with diabetes enrolls in the school district, or if refresher training is needed.
- At the beginning of each school year, the district will provide training on diabetes care to all school personnel (instructional and non-instructional) consistent with the "Level 1" training described in the Michigan Department of Education's Model Policy on the Management of Diabetes in the School Setting. This training will include an overview of diabetes, information on how to recognize and respond to hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and information about what to do in an emergency. Staff will also be trained to inform a student's teacher, diabetes caregiver, or an administrator if they become aware of any problems or complaints concerning a student's diabetes care. If a new staff member joins the school after the start of the school year, that teacher will receive the training outlined above within thirty (30) days of hire.
- At the beginning of each school year, the district will provide additional training, consistent with the "Level 2" training described in the Michigan Department of Education's Model Policy on the Management of Diabetes in the School Setting, to all school personnel who will have responsibility for a student with diabetes, including the instructional staff of all classes the student will attend, (both core and non-core classes), as well as office staff, cafeteria employees, bus drivers, and coaches. This training will include the content from the Level 1 training, along with information on the roles and responsibilities of individual staff members in caring for students with diabetes, information about the impact that hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia have on behavior, learning, and other activities, an overview of the operation of devices (or equipment) commonly used by students with diabetes, such as blood glucose monitors, pumps, and syringes, and specific instructions about how to respond to an emergency involving the student and the administration of Glucagon. The training will also include a review of each student's diabetes medical management plan (DMMP). Staff will also be trained to inform a student's teacher, diabetes caregiver, or an administrator if they become aware of any problems or complaints concerning a student's diabetes care. If, after the start of the school year, a student with diabetes is assigned to a teacher who has not received the training outlined above, that teacher will receive the training within fourteen (14) days of the assignment.
- The district will provide additional training on diabetes care at the beginning of each school year, consistent with the "Level 3" training described in the Michigan Department of Education's Model Policy on the Management of Diabetes in the School Setting, to all personnel who will perform diabetes care, or supervise or assist students who are performing their own diabetes care tasks. This training will include content from the Level 1 and Level 2 trainings, along with general training on diabetes care tasks, including blood glucose testing, ketone testing (urine and blood), insulin administration (via syringe or pump), Glucagon administration, and basic carbohydrate counting. The training will also include a review of each student's diabetes medical management plan (DMMP). Staff will be trained to clearly identify and understand the tasks as outlined in the DMMP, and the student's specific symptoms and treatment for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Staff will also be given step by step instructions on performing each task outlined in the DMMP using the student's equipment and supplies, and be provided with clear parameters on when to perform each task, when not to do so, when to contact a parent or guardian, when to seek help from a health care professional, and how to document all care tasks provided. In the event a new staff member is assigned to perform diabetes care, or assist or supervise a student in self-care, that staff member will receive the training outlined above before performing, assisting with or supervising care.
- The district will designate at least three (3) staff members at each school as responsible for performing or assisting students with diabetes care tasks at that school, including administering insulin and Glucagon if needed.
- The district will keep records of which employees have received training in diabetes care, the type of training they received, and the date they were last trained. These records shall be available, upon request, for review by parents of children who have diabetes and counsel for the United States.
- The district will document that staff that are responsible for performing or assisting students with diabetes care tasks have reviewed and been trained on the DMMP for each student they are responsible for assisting and/or performing diabetes tasks.
- The district shall not retaliate against anyone because he or she may have participated in this matter.
- During the term of this Agreement, Mt. Pleasant Public Schools will immediately notify the United States if any individual submits a complaint, charge or grievance to a diabetes caregiver, teacher, administrator, or front office secretary, or files a lawsuit, alleging that any school in the district failed to provide appropriate diabetes care to a student or violated the ADA. Such notification must be provided in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt and will include, at a minimum, the nature of the allegation, the name of the individual making the allegation (if known), and any documentation possessed by Mt. Pleasant Public Schools or any of its agents or representatives relevant to the allegation that is not prohibited from disclosure pursuant to Federal Law.
- The United States may review compliance with this Agreement or title II of the ADA at any time. If the United States believes that Mt. Pleasant Public Schools has failed to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the United States for a modification of the relevant terms, the United States will so notify the district in writing, and will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the United States is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within thirty (30) days of the date it provides notice to the district, it may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement or title II of the ADA and may, in such action, seek any relief available under law.
- Failure by the United States to enforce any provision of this Agreement is not a waiver of its right to enforce that or any other provision of this Agreement.
- This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the United States and Mt. Pleasant Public Schools on the matter raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement shall be enforceable. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law unrelated to the Complaint at issue with the matter. This Agreement does not affect the continuing responsibility of Mt. Pleasant Public Schools to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
- This Agreement will remain in effect for three (3) years from its effective date.
- The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
Agreed and Consented to:
For the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BARBARA L. McQUADE
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Michigan
By:/s/ Sarah Karpinen
Assistant United States Attorney
Eastern District of Michigan
Civil Rights Unit
211 W. Fort St., Suite 2001
Detroit, MI 48226
For MT. PLEASANT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
By: /s/ Mike Pung
Mt. Pleasant Public Schools
720 N. Kinney
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
By: /s/ Tim Odykirk
School Board President
Mt. Pleasant Public Schools
720 N. Kinney
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858