Family Says Hommocks Student Denied Medical Treatment

A Larchmont couple is considering filing a federal lawsuit against the Mamaroneck Union Free School District,









alleging the district violated their son’s civil rights by refusing to administer his prescribed treatment for diabetes because it included daily parent involvement.


“He had a prescription on file and they refused to administer it,” said Sheri Pendernacht, a Rye Brook attorney who handles a range of cases involving diabetic children. “They should have been ready to treat the child.”


Since Sept. 20, the school has been administering the Hommocks sixth-grader’s treatment, which includes a daily insulin shot, after discussing the day’s dosage with the child’s parents, she said.


But that did not start, however, until after a weeks-long dispute during which the district allegedly refused to give the boy his shot if doing so meant consulting his parents first, Pendernacht said.


That parental input is a vital – and standard – part of diabetes treatment, as the amount of insulin a child should get (it usually is prescribed in dosages on a sliding scale) each day is largely dependent on the kid’s general health, activity level and diet during a particular period, she said. A diabetic child who does not receive proper care can experience seizures or a coma, possibly leading to brain damage.


“With diabetes and with insulin, no one prescription works for any one child every single day,” Pendernacht said, adding that the process worked well during the boy’s six years at Chatsworth Elementary School.


Debbie Manetta, the school district’s spokeswoman, said the district would not comment on this particular case to protect the child’s confidentiality.  However, Manetta did say that the district is committed to meeting the individual needs – including medical ones – of all its students “to insure every student has a productive and safe experience in our schools.”


“We take great care to understand the individual medical needs of every child,” Manetta said. 


School nurses treat diabetic children every year, she said, but the district first “must have a legal prescription.”


Pendernacht, however, said the district clearly violated the boy’s civil rights by refusing to administer his treatment while battling out the details with his parents, whose experience was so bad they are still considering filing the suit.


“It’s really important for the parents, the school nurse and the school district to work together to insure the child’s safety while the child is going to school,” she said.









  1. I am sure this was not the intention –but by mentioning the grade and elemenatry school you have effectively outed the family and the child to many readers.
    reporter: the family came to us with the story, which we published will both their full consent and that of their attorney.

  2. Given the number of nurses and other busybodies in the District, I am surprised they don’t have the time to follow this procedure. ON the other hand, this would probably open the door to attaching one nurse (and one backup) to each and every student who takes medications, that is to say probably 75% of the enrollment. I believe then that the right solution is to charge the parents for the personal care that their progeny requires. After all a school district’s main role is education, not healthcare. Or where will the socialization of private needs stop ?

  3. [quote][i]Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.[/i]
    -Howard Aiken[/quote]

    Interesting, [u]Reader[/u]. Yes, you’re correct. But even more, perhaps you’ve hit upon an idea to reduce the school tax burden and provide money for the schools – although many will find reason why not. Charge a fee for services of the nurse, paid by the recipient in the same way as their other medical bills. However, nobody should be denied health care because of an inability to pay.

  4. If it worked so well at Chatsworth, what if anything has changed to make the school district put up a fight? Does the child have other medical issues other than diabetes? I am sure that this is not the only child at Hommocks where insulin is being administered. Something doesn’t sound right with this story. And why after the school has agreed to administer the shots according to the parents wishes do they hire a lawyer, threaten to sue, and write a story about it on a local website?

  5. I have lived in this community for almost twenty three years and cannot believe how the actions of the Mamaroneck school nurses are now subject to ridiculous accusations by parents. My children ( one of whom is severely disabled) both attended Mamaroneck schools. I cannot recall a single instance where the care they received was anything but first rate and by the book. The competence and professionalism shown by these nurses should be applauded by the community and not condemned. New York State licenses these nurses and expects them to follow certain guidelines when administering medication and treatments. They cannot be expected to act in way that is out of compliance with NYS mandates. I am having trouble understanding the legal merit to this situation. It is very important for parents and school nurses to have a working relationship when it comes to the health and safety to the children.

  6. It took 6 1/2 school days (!) for Hommocks Middle School and the parents to figure out the best way to administer insulin to this child – and the parents are thinking of a federal lawsuit? As the lawyer says herself: you don’t want to make a mistake with insulin administration. This also means you don’t want to rush these things. The nurses at the Hommocks are wonderful! The parents in this case should take a step back, and a deep breath, and relax – their child is in good hands.

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