Justices Reject Appeal Over Hot Lunch for Student With Diabetes

By Mark Walsh — December 09, 2013 1 min read
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the appeal on behalf of a New York City student with Type I diabetes whose mother challenged a school’s refusal to heat the boy’s lunch.

Aura Moody, the mother of the 7th grader identified as J.M., argued in court papers that her son would skip his meals if they were not heated, and thus accommodating his request would help him adjust to his disability.

But both a federal district court and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City, held that neither the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require “optimal” accommodations .

In a unanimous, non-precedential “summary” ruling in March for the New York City school system, the 2nd Circuit court panel said, “It is undisputed that diabetics do not need to eat hot food in order to manage their diabetes successfully. Therefore, even if J.M. sometimes skipped lunch and disliked the food on the school menu, that did not warrant a further accommodation in addition to what the school had already provided.”

“The accommodations the school had provided--lunch menu options and monitoring of J.M.'s blood glucose level--afforded J.M. meaningful access to the benefit to which he was entitled: public school lunches,” the appeals court added.

The Supreme Court declined without comment to hear the family’s appeal in Moody v. New York City Department of Education (Case No. 13-577).

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.