Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Shirley Mills

Second Advisor

Dr. Anita Pankake

Third Advisor

Dr. Jerry Lowe


The purpose of the study was to report on the 504 Program experiences of parents of students with Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes (T1D) in one south Texas public school district. Critical Theory, with an emphasis on social justice leadership, was utilized as the theoretical framework. Six parent interviews were audio-taped, transcribed, coded and analyzed, and a review of students’ records was conducted. A pseudonym was used for the name of each child with T1D and their parents. All of the parents interviewed were in agreement that the school nurses followed the diabetic care plan prescribed by their child’s doctors and basic necessary accommodations were implemented in the schools. Parents of students with T1D identified accommodations which they felt best met their child’s needs such as the buddy system; unlimited restroom breaks; school meals and snacks; regular blood sugar checks; preferential seating to help maintain focus; and extended time to finish assignments. Parents of students with T1D gave suggestions and identified areas of concern for improved care for their children. Among the suggestions and concerns were: reinstatement of the buddy system at the high school level; diabetic self-care permission at the high school level away from the nurse’s office; school staff education and training; 504 accommodations and instructions left for substitute teachers; unlimited restroom breaks; effective communication between the T1D 504 diabetic management team, school staff, and parents; larger portion sizes for school breakfast, lunch and snacks; a greater variety of foods in the school menu; a more flexible snack schedule; and a more flexible insulin injection schedule. As a result of this dissertation study, parents of students with T1D were given a voice. In addition, the possibility of continued and increased integration of social justice in the public school setting for students with chronic illnesses such as T1D through the leadership of committed administrators and other institutional leaders was explored and found present but not complete. The findings of the study indicated a need for administrators to be more involved in 504 processes and services for students with chronic illness such as T1D in the public school system.


Copyright 2012 Mary Frances Cornwell-Garza. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American