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Pass the sunscreen (and the common sense)

Posted Friday, June 22, 2012, at 4:43 PM

I may not be a parent, but this story still bothers me.

Apparently a law in Washington state bans teachers from applying sunscreen to students. It doesn't ban students from self-applying, but they must have a doctor's note. The law is well-intentioned, of course, due to allergies to various sunscreen additives.

Point Defiance Elementary in Tacoma strictly enforces their rule that lines up with the law.

Two girls, one with a form of albinism, ended up in the hospital with sunburns following a field day and their mother is imploring the school board for a more "parent friendly" policy.

I just found this entire situation interesting. It seems like an example of punishing the masses for the majority.

Where's the common sense? I don't think the Midwest has a monopoly on it, and yet there seems to be more of it here. (Yes, I realize this is a stereotypical, sweeping generality.)

The funny twist to this particular story is, they don't do that when it comes to lunch time. Even though many children are allergic to peanuts, both peanuts and peanut butter are allowed and don't even seem to be monitored.

Whoops, maybe I spoke too soon. That may just be the next thing that gets banned.

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I have been following that story, too. It seems it was the school's first ever field day, and I think there was a lack of foresight as far as the sunscreen rule.

The mother freely admits she should have put sunscreen on her daughters in the morning before school. However, even if she had applied it at 8 am, it would have been worn off by the time field day activities started around 12. However, it's Washington State, it was raining in the morning, and sunscreen didn't spring to mind that morning.

I understand about allergies, additives, and that whole bit. And I suppose a teacher applying sunscreen, whether or not they actually take the rubbing in too far, could open him or herself up to accusations and it's not too difficult to picture a court case in which they try to determine the nature of the rubbing and touching.

Idea: spray sunscreen. Or, squeeze a small amount in the student's hand for their self-application. It should only need to be applied to the skin exposed outside a tee shirt and gym shorts for school field day -- yes?

-- Posted by AmyPeterson on Mon, Jun 25, 2012, at 7:51 PM

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