No Sunscreen Allowed at School: “Kids could drink it.”

Readers — Our country has grown delusional creative when it comes to thinking up new child dangers to be worried about. The latest involves a San Antonio, TX, school where kids were going on a field trip, but forbidden to bring sunscreen, which the school classifies as both a “medication” and “toxic.”

Now, if kids were generally inclined to guzzle the Coppertone, maybe this would make some sense. But…have you ever witnessed this? I don’t think they even drink liquid soap, the gateway drug for sunscreen. But according to school district spokeswoman, Aubrey Chancellor, as quoted on KSAT.com:

“Typically, sunscreen is a toxic substance, and we can’t allow toxic things in to be in our schools,” Chancellor said…. At this time, she said, sunscreen can’t be brought by students to school campuses.

“We have to look at the safety of all of our students and we can’t allow children to share sunscreen,” she said. “They could possibly have an allergic reaction (or) they could ingest it. It’s really a dangerous situation.”

As usual, the real danger is looking at ordinary, safe, 2014 life through the Kaleidoscope of Death. But many school administrators seem to find this irresistible. – L

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

 

, , , , ,

88 Responses to No Sunscreen Allowed at School: “Kids could drink it.”

  1. Jenny Islander June 7, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    It gets even stupider. Here’s a direct quote from the FIRST link that came up when I looked up “sunscreen ingestion.” This is from the MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, which is a service of the National Institutes of Health.

    How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.

    Swallowing sunscreen usually just causes mild stomach upset and vomiting.

    Some suntan lotions contain a type of alcohol called ethanol. Children who swallow a large amount of such products may become drunk (intoxicated).

    Swallowing a large amount of sunscreen made from salicylates could cause a condition similar to aspirin overdose.

    You know, if the reporters had been investigative reporters, a breed I understand used to exist, they could’ve taken the whole five minutes I just used to find this information. For that matter, so could the school administration!

  2. Jenny Islander June 7, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    Whoops! The entire quote was supposed to be italicized.

  3. tana June 7, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

    Wow. Mild stomach upset risk vs akin cancer risk. Hm.

  4. Jenny Islander June 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    @Tana: Yep, the results of a multi-year, 100,000+ nurses’ study regarding the relationship between sunburn early in life and skin cancer later in life are on the same site. I sent both quotes to the superintendent of the school district just now.

  5. hineata June 7, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    Commented myself yesterday on the original article that only a couple of weeks ago I was listening to immunologists telling us that they do NOT want bans on things like peanuts, eggs or any other allergans at schools, because it doesn’t help kids with allergies deal with life.

    And now we have bright sparks deciding that even sunscreen, an actual lifesaver (depending I suppose on your race and geographical location) being banned because, in part, of a ‘real danger’ of allergic reactions. What utter balderdash, Maud!

  6. hineata June 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

    Oh and ingestion of course. Because we all know the world is awash with kids who drink sunscreen :-).

  7. C.J. June 7, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

    My children would not be going on a field trip without sunscreen. My grandfather and my uncle have both had skin cancer. My older daughter is very fair and burns easily. So instead of risking kids drinking sunscreen they would rather risk contributing to a person getting skin cancer. I’m glad that at my kids school sunscreen is on the list of things parents are asked to send for field trips.

  8. Sha June 7, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    I would say they should be allowed to use the spray ons, but apparently the FDA says that children are too likely to breathe it in because they are wiggly. In our house we would have gotten lightly popped in the head with the bottle if we were wiggling around (sort of like how we got popped in the head with the brush). Kids would only need to breathe it in once and they’d never want to do that again. If you treat them like they are stupid, then they will act stupid.

    Hineata: re allergens. I just read today somewhere that experts are saying that women shouldn’t give up nuts during pregnancy because it actually helps the child later on with not forming allergies. Which I think we’ve always known, since the beginning of time. GAH!

  9. SOA June 7, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    Our school does not allow teachers to help put it on for like the little kids. I do think they are allowed to bring it and apply it themselves if need be. My son did get a sunburn in just thirty minutes of recess because he was required to stand as punishment in the sun the entire time. I was pissed and took it up with administration that next time he is punished at recess they better put him in the shade. That is the school’s standard punishment for misbehavior. You have to stand at recess instead of play.

    This is why because I have a ginger that burns in 30 minutes of sun or less that I show up on all field trips and field days to apply and reapply sunscreen myself. I don’t trust the kids to do it yet since mine are still young and the teachers won’t do it and my kids have to have it.

    If you are one of those people that don’t need sunscreen that much, consider yourself blessed. We are not outside for any amount of time in the sun without having to apply and reapply it. If we don’t its a burn and skin cancer is no laughing matter. It is serious. I know several people my age in their 30s who have already had it.

  10. Kimberly June 7, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

    We encourage students to bring and use sunscreen for outside field trips and field day. In13 years I’ve had one student try to eat sunscreen. He had already tried to eat
    1. His compostion books
    2. hand sanitizer
    3. staples
    4. spirle notebooks
    5. any worksheets
    6. Pencils
    7, erasers
    8. Math manipulatives of various kinds

  11. SOA June 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm #

    Also I was a volunteer classroom helper for field day and we were told we are not allowed to put sunscreen on any kids but our own. So I asked what are we supposed to do if we see a kid burning? They said send them in to the nurse. I mean I guess that is better then letting them burn.

  12. Alicia June 8, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    Yeah, you can’t apply to kids, because, you know, they might look suspicious. Kind of like the no-hugging rules for teachers. Can’t have that!

  13. DND June 8, 2014 at 1:55 am #

    I cannot wait for them to be hit with a lawsuit because Timmy and Susie came home from a field trip with severe sunburns. Even aside from the cancer risk (which is very real, especially in TEXAS where it’s not like they’re lacking in sunshine), serious sunburns are no laughing matter. I remember one year in school about half the grade was out with 2nd degree burns because they went to the beach and didn’t remember to keep reapplying lotion. This was with teachers reminding us every twenty minutes, I can only imagine how awful it would have been if we’d not been allowed to bring sunblock at all.

  14. lollipoplover June 8, 2014 at 2:45 am #

    What about sunscreen sticks to reapply? My kids have these in their backpacks and have yet to cut them in lines and snort up their noses.

    Banning *toxic* sunscreen among elementary kids because you fear they will eat it and not be able to even apply it (oh the temptation to squirt it in your mouth!) shows how little this school administration thinks of its students capabilities. How can you look at a sun burnt student and not realize what an unbelievable asshole you are?

  15. Reader June 8, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    Haven’t these people ever actually used sunscreen on their face and accidentally gotten/sweated a bit into their mouth? Even if an oblivious kid tried to drink it, they’d probably take in less than a half-sip before spitting it back out. And NEVER doing it again…

  16. Montreal Dad June 8, 2014 at 5:39 am #

    Ingesting your trousers is potentially deadly. I can’t believe they let kids keep coming to school wearing deadly pants like that.

  17. Andy June 8, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    I think this have less to do with safety and more to do with fear/unwillingness to break a rule or change the process, no matter how stupid.

    Someone made rules and did not thought about sunscreen. Rules are revised once a year, during summer. They would have to either break a rule or go out of the usual process and that would be worst horrible thing in their eyes. Such disorder!

    The rest is just rhetorics meant to be hard to argue with. People are all too willing to buy any new “kids of all ages are dumb toddlers” meme.

    Second, when we were kids and had to take medicine, we took medicine with us to school and took it there. There was no school nurse, you took it yourself and had it in a bag. I guess if it was something super important or dangerous, teacher would be involved.

    The “every medicine has to go through nurse” rule is too much without adding another substances into the list.

  18. Rick June 8, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    When will they realize school itself is toxic to children and ban them from attending?

  19. SOA June 8, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    I will say our school said we are not allowed to even send chapstick for chapped lips if it says medicated. So like the kind that says medicated was not allowed but other kinds were/

  20. Suzanne June 8, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    I would not allow my daughter to go on a field trip like that if she could not reapply sunscreen. The dangers of being burnt far out way the remote dangers the school seems worried about. I would also be asking the school if they are getting their information about the ‘toxic’ nature of sunscreen from a creditable source or a email circulated by their aunt Betty.

  21. Dhewco June 8, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Times have so changed since I was a kid. In my pocket as a 5th-grader, I’d have chapstick, one of those small tubes of Tylenol, and maybe a pocket knife…Any one of which would potentially get me suspended or at least detention. I can remember whittling a stick at recess in Elementary school.

  22. Stephanie June 8, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    Kids could come back from a field trip with serious second and third degree burns, given San Antonio’s sun. If I put sunscreen on my child in the morning, by noon the sunscreen may have rubbed off and need additional sunscreen. I would be extremely angry if my child came home with a second or third degree sunburn after being in the sun all day at a field trip.

    The potential harm (and liabilities) caused by banning sunscreen is greater than any potential risk of EATING IT. Our daycare supervises application midday. If toddlers can handle sunscreen, but an elementary school can’t? Weird.

  23. Nicole June 8, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    OK, the thought that kids will ingest their sunscreen at school is ludicrous. The incidents would be so rare as to be negligible and easily manageable. The idea of allergies has some weight, but not enough to ban bringing sunscreen to school. Here’s why. My daughter and I are redheads with sensitive skin. Certain creams make us break out in rashes, and that includes many brands of sunscreen and face paints. I would much prefer she bring her own bottle of one of tried and tested sunscreens to use at school than to use someone else’s Banana Boat. Thankfully, our elementary school and summer camps required that kids bring their own sunscreen that could be applied by the nurse or teacher, so she was protected from that harm. I think it’s more harmful, however, to ban sunscreen because of the risk of allergic reactions.

  24. Bose in St. Peter MN June 8, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    There is a toxic substance ingested publicly to many laughs and few warnings, but it’s not sunscreen.

    Helium is as deadly as carbon monoxide, if not more so given that it’s believed to trigger a quick, peaceful, pain-free death. And, as much as I hate being a buzzkill about floating happy balloons, it’s an unrenewable resource which is critical to medical diagnostics, where it can be handled responsibly.

    How often would comics use it, or parents buy it for parties, if it was properly recognized as a DIY death/suicide kit in a can?

    Sunscreen? Yeah, not so much.

  25. derfel cadarn June 8, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    Stupidity at this level should be a felony

  26. Joan June 8, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    I actually am allergic to an ingredient in some sunscreens. If I use the wrong one I can get, oh horror, an annoying rash that goes away in a day. Is there a potentially more severe reaction I’m not aware of? Because if not, I pick possible rash over possible skin cancer any day. Heck, I’d take possible annoying rash over probable painful sunburn any day. And honestly, no one drinks sunscreen, that’s just ludicrous.

  27. Mike June 8, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    You know this puts a much darker tone on Mary Schmich’s “Wear Sunscreen” commencement speech. I didn’t realize she was advising young people to poison themselves, Socrates style.

  28. J- June 8, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    I don’t get what happened to a generation of people, that the prevailing attitude in America has become that children are stupid death magnets. Seriously.

    It is true, that many children die of accidental poisoning every year. The overwhelming majority of them are between the ages of 1 and 4 (CDC report). This is the age range when kids will put anything in their mouths. After that, poisoning drops off precipitously.

    A child old enough to go to school, let alone a field trip is old enough TO KNOW NOT TO DRINK SUNSCREEN. A 1st grader (let alone a 10 year-old)dying from accidental poisoning from ingestion of a household chemical would be a CDC statistical anomaly.

    But the assumption is still there. This is horribly insulting. Why do these administrators think that a 10 year old child, when handed a bottle of sunscreen, will instantly become stupid and drink it?

    Why is it that children receive absolutely no trust in society? I get that kids can and will be impulsive and have moments of poor decision making. But there has to be something more reasonable than “we assume your 10 year old can’t tell the difference between a bottle of syrup and a bottle of motor oil and will poison him/herself with 10-W30 if we don’t watch them every second and perhaps ban storing motor oil in the home.” Society needs to start giving kids some reasonable benefit of the doubt, that maybe, just maybe, they aren’t suicidally stupid.

  29. Mike June 8, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    “I don’t think they even drink liquid soap, the gateway drug for sunscreen”

    PS – This literally made me laugh out loud.

  30. Elinor June 8, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    This is crazy, when my oldest was an elementary school student in Hawaii, her school had sunscreen as a required school supply that each kid was to supply and have in their school bags throughout the school year.

  31. Reziac June 8, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    The stupid, it burns… literally, in this case. Any damage from the sun is permanent, despite that the burn will heal. Want to see how sun-damaged your skin is? have someone take a photo using a UV filter. I smell lawsuits in this school’s future.

    And you there in Hawaii, it’s obvious the school system was irresponsibly letting your children go outside and actually be exposed to the sun, why else would they need sunscreen! 😉

  32. Lyndsay June 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    My day care is not allowed to apply sunscreen to the children without a signed permission slip. Official policy is that if you don’t sign the form and supply the sunscreen, your kid only gets what you put on them first thing in the morning. We know this place well and I have a feeling that on a sunny day, if my pasty children were unprotected and I’d forgotten the slip, someone would look out for them. I say this because official policy is that they are supposed to have the first application of the day at home, but they routinely sniff them all to make sure no one forgot :)

  33. Nadine June 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    Probably as poisonous as large amounts of writing ink or a lunch tray full of crayons would be …. Should we tell them?

  34. Karon June 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Wow, the representative from the school looks like she completely buys the crap she’s spewing.

    And, by the way, “we simply cannot allow toxic things to be in our schools”?????

    What about crayons, markers, glue, cleaning solvents, hand sanitizer, etc?

    How do you teach without exposure to “toxic things?”

  35. Kim June 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    I live in San Antonio. I have both a 10 and 12 year old that attend NEISD schools. Both my girls carry sunscreen with them. We are really pale military transplants and the Texas sun is brutal. In fact KIN (after school program) had a water day on Thurs. and recommended sunscreen but the kids had to apply it themselves.

  36. Emily June 8, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    @Andy–I agree with everything you said about treating everyone from age 0-17 as incompetent, but I take issue with your choice of words. “Dumb toddlers” is a misnomer. Toddlers aren’t dumb at all–one of my parents’ old parenting books described toddlerhood as an “explorer” phase (when kids learn to crawl, and then to walk, and discover the ways they can move, and the world around them), followed by a “research scientist” phase, where they learn about things like gravity, and yes, what is and isn’t edible. Sometimes, these lessons are learned by getting it wrong–falling, dropping something, or thinking something is edible when it isn’t. I learned my lesson about sunscreen when I was one year old, at the beach (my parents photographed me attempting to drink the sunscreen rather than taking it away from me), and again at two, in the bathtub, when I tried to bite into a bar of soap. Again, my mom held in laughter (she says there were bubbles coming out of my nose), but she didn’t stop me. In both cases, I learned my lesson by the disequilibrium I experienced (as Jean Piaget would say), when my “hypothesis” was disproven–and, even if I couldn’t verbalize it, I was making a hypothesis, of “Sunscreen looks like milk, so I think it must taste like milk as well,” or “This soap is a pretty pink colour, and it smells nice, so I think it must taste good.” In both instances, I was wrong, and I never again tried to consume either, but “real” explorers and scientists have gotten things equally wrong in the past, by thinking things like, “the world is flat,” or “mercury can cure syphilis,” and publicizing these findings.

  37. Hillary J June 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    How common are sunscreen allergies? The only person I’ve known/heard of/encountered with any history of reaction is myself, BUT I only react to the spray-on kind because I’m not allergic to sunscreen, but the aerosol propellant HFA. Also, of people allergic to the active ingredient in sunscreen, how many of those are mild, dermal reactions such as irritation and hives that are uncomfortable, but not life threatening or difficult to treat and how many reactions are deeper and life threatening like anaphylaxis?

  38. Rebecca June 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    As a fair-skinned red headed parent of a fair-skinned red headed child, I would have a greater problem with my child NOT having access to sunscreen.

  39. Ben June 8, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    If children sharing sun screen is a concern than forbid it, but be realistic, skin cancer is a lot more realistic risk than children ingesting sunscreen. It tested a whole lot before it is even released on the market to make sure it is not toxic. Potential allergies are the only real concern you mention. Just have every kid use their own sun screen and the problem is solved.

    Also, unless you’re working with a class of kindergartners, ingestion is really an unrealistic scenario.

  40. bmj2k June 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Sunscreen=danger.
    Skin cancer=fun in the sun?

    Meanwhile, how about a school where they think so little of their students that they assume that they are stupid enough to drink sunscreen? These are the people we want to nurture and encourage our children?

  41. Ben June 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    School administrators more than anyone else should be aware that anything in the right dose can be toxic. They simply work with a different definition of toxic than I do as a scientist. In the wrong circumstances, water can be toxic too, but I’d hate to ban that from a school during a hot summer.

    I’ll forward this one to a smart Texas kid and ask them to talk some sense into the school, because I really believe these kids deserve better.

  42. CLamb June 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    Sunscreen is not allowed but exposure to cancer-causing radiation from a nuclear fusion reaction is required? They don’t teach science there, do they?

  43. katie June 8, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Actually the real danger of sunscreen is helicoper parents who over use sunscreen because that causes vitamin D deficincy.

  44. Andy June 8, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    @Emily I did not meant that all toddlers are dumb, I meant toddlers that act in less smart ways then an average toddler. Because half of the things some people worry that “kids” will do are things that only the youngest toddlers do or they do it only once and then they learn.

    I have no beef against toddlers. I do not even agree with those who assume them defiant and self-centered. Toddlers are trying to cooperate all too often, they are desperately trying to be helpful and they really want to please adults (although all three attempts often fail in weird ways).

  45. Andy June 8, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    @Emily Just one nitpick: non trivial logical reasoning is usually to developing around three years old. Toddlers do not go through highly scientific process you described, it is much simpler “assume it is like closest looking thing you remember, try action enough times to remember result”.

    If they would go by the highly rational scientific process you describe, then I would like to know why and when it get lost. Adults do not seem to all that great in it.

  46. C. S. P. Schofield June 8, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    I am so glad that my Lady and I decided not to have children. In this day and age of industrial strength stupidity at every administrative level in the public schools, I would have throttled some self-important prick by now, and be languishing in prison.

    You who have kids have my best wishes and sympathy. Extra points for every time you ask a self-important twit who wants to ban something normal like aspirin, or asthma inhalers, or sunscreen, “Are you stupid or vicious?”

  47. Michelle Putman June 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Because the giant vats of hand sanitizer we are required to supply each year are far less toxic?? Hmmmmm

  48. Julie C June 8, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    I’d be okay if the school said, “please don’t bring spray on sunscreen” because that stuff could get in some random kid’s eye. But the cream kind? These people are stuck on stupid.

  49. bmommyx2 June 8, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    While I think they are overreacting, I do think that the majority of sunscreens are toxic / have extremely allergic ingredients. I do think that this should be up to the parents to make the finally decision. The should instead use this as an opportunity to educate parents point out the offending ingredients, share studies & information & suggest alternatives. I only use sunscreen minimally for my family because of allergy issues & concerns over the ingredients. I know there are lots of articles, also check out the Environmental Working Groups website & their sister site Skin Deep for lots of info. What is ironic is sunscreen can potentially cause what it’s supposed to protect you from. Since it was all over FB this is the first one I saw recently. http://institutefornaturalhealing.com/2011/05/the-scary-link-between-sunscreen-and-cancer/#.U5TrM9oWQwI.facebook

  50. bmommyx2 June 8, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    I just read through the comments & I guess that I am in the minority in being concerned about the chemicals & ingredient in the sunscreen. I do suggest you at least do a little reading about it. I read the article & I don’t remember them being concerned about ingestion just the fact that the kids were being slathered with chemicals that are toxic, allergens or both. Again like I said in my previous comment I do think the school is over reacting with an all out ban & treating sunscreen like medicine. Just like most medical decision & what to feed your child the final decision should belong to the parents.

  51. Vanessa June 8, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    Seriously? Even kindergartners know not to drink sunscreen, and if they did get any in their mouths they would immediately spit it out, because it would taste terrible. When I was about three, I tried spraying my mother’s perfume in my mouth like breath freshener, and forty years later I can still remember how awful it was and how I immediately vowed never to do anything that again.

  52. Jenny Islander June 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    @bmommyx2: If my choices are skin cancer with at least one childhood episode of agonizing feverish pain and burns so bad I can’t even lie down, and skin cancer without, then bring on the sunscreen! I had severe burns at age four because my parents didn’t reapply my sunscreen, and all these years later I still remember how horrible it was.

  53. Kelly June 8, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    I would literally end up in the hospital if I was not allowed to apply sunscreen before being outdoors all day. Even if I put it on in the morning, if I didn’t reapply I would end up severely burnt.

    This is horrible. I wouldn’t be able to send my son on this field trip because of this ridiculous rule. Why should those of us with fair skin be forced to burn and endure pain because someone else doesn’t like sunscreen? I’m not forcing them to wear it.

  54. Melanie June 8, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    Oh for goodness sake, how old are the kids?? Ok, toddlers might have a small taste (and then pull a face and spit it out), but I’m guessing these children are primary school aged (5+). Give them some credit administrators! And some protection against uv rays…

  55. Sandi June 8, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Our school has the same rule. When our kids had field day, we had to come to the school to re-apply sunscreen or just hope that they wouldn’t burn with what we put on in the morning. SO stupid.

  56. Jennifer June 8, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    Here in Florida my class of four year olds keep sunscreen in their cubbies technically the parents are supposed to fill out a permission form but that’s just for record keeping purposes If they don’t have a form but have the sunscreen I am still able to apply it. I have also been known to grab an other child’s sunscreen and apply it to a child that is burning and then telling the parent later to bring some. It honestly never occurs to some parents that the kids would even need it.

  57. Emily June 8, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    >>Our school has the same rule. When our kids had field day, we had to come to the school to re-apply sunscreen or just hope that they wouldn’t burn with what we put on in the morning. SO stupid.<<

    @Sandi–You know what makes me mad? The "no sunscreen at school without a doctor's note" rule unfairly punishes kids whose parents work, and therefore can't come in and reapply sunscreen on field day, and also kids from lower-income families, who can't afford whatever it costs to get the necessary doctor's note. Kids whose parents work long hours to (barely) make ends meet are particularly screwed, and since we're in a recession, there are probably a lot of "school families" in that boat. It's enough to make someone want to homeschool…..IF they can afford that option.

  58. MichaelF June 8, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    “Kaleidoscope of Death”
    The Best phrase I have heard this year.

    I wonder where I can buy one…

  59. Puzzled June 8, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    I wish they’d apply this stupidity to banning hand sanitizer and calculators (might eat the batteries.)

  60. 20percentcooler June 8, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    Why in the name of God would administration think any ten year old – hell, any TWO year old – would WANT to drink sunscreen? It’s greasy, it smells funny, it stings, and most kids wriggle away from wearing it. If you can barely get a child to WEAR sunscreen, I doubt EATING it will have any appeal. Give the kids some credit. They know the world. Stop making up dumb protocols in the name of “safety.”

  61. SOA June 9, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    bmommy: so then what is the alternative to sunscreen for kids who burn easily? Not every going outside? In the south where it is super hot you cannot go out in summer in long pants and long sleeved shirts. You have to wear shorts and t shirts and then your neck, legs and arms and face are exposed to the sun. Which will then burn badly in a short period of time. I think that being able to decide not to wear sunscreen is a privilege of the people without naturally pale skin. It is not a choice for us but a necessity. Or do you think it is healthier to hide inside all the time and never go outside?

  62. SOA June 9, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    I do not know anyone over applying sunscreen to their kid. I am the parent that applies it more than anyone else I know and I know I don’t overapply. I am lazy so if anything I underapply and I have a ginger that burns in less than thirty minutes.

    Kids have vitamin D deficiencies because mostly parents never let their kids go outside anymore.

    It does come down to us knowing I cannot have a job at this point. I have to be available during the day for many things relating to our kids one of which is to apply sunscreen on field trips and field day because they are untrustworthy to do it well enough themselves yet and their teachers are not allowed to do it. There are other reasons too but this is one of them.

  63. Andy June 9, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    @bmommyx2 So, the class full of non-allergic kids should be prevented to use sunscreen because some entirely different kids are allergic on some of them? That makes zeros sense, a kid that does not have allergy on the thing x has no reason to avoid the thing x.

    Of course, if there would be a super allergic kid in a class which suffers horrible consequences when it comes into slightest contact with substance x, them I’m ok with not bringing x into school and buying different sunscreen for my kid (so that the other one is not at risk).

    However, those things should be done only when needed and needs of non-allergic kids should be taken into account too. Meaning, if school denied access to sunscreen, school is responsible for keeping easy-to-burn kids in shade during strong sun.

  64. mer June 9, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    “…we can’t allow toxic things to be in our schools…”
    Are they unaware that even water is toxic in great enough quantities or “stored in one’s lungs”?

  65. Amanda Matthews June 9, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    So schools aren’t teaching kids to not drink sunscreen. They aren’t teaching kids to not put sunscreen on a kid that is allergic to it. They aren’t teaching the allergic kids to read the ingredients and avoid their allergen.

    So basically, schools are not teaching children to survive daily life. What exactly are they teaching them? A high score on the standardized tests means nothing if you can’t live through the day.

  66. save our children June 9, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    What about the Lysol wipes they have us send to school every year? The kids could decide to suck the Lysol out of them! Or the ziploc bags the teachers always ask for, what if the kids decide to tape them over their mouths and noses?! My child is in danger!

  67. Gary June 9, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    From now on my default post is going to be “Well, at least I don’t have to worry anymore since I just pitched my kids off of a cliff.”

  68. Gary June 9, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    ““Typically, sunscreen is a toxic substance, and we can’t allow toxic things in to be in our schools,” Chancellor said”

    She better steer clear of the janitorial departments stuff then…

    As well as the maintenance department.

  69. Havva June 9, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    Gary, you said “She better steer clear of the janitorial departments stuff then…

    As well as the maintenance department.”

    I’m not entirely sure that is the case. A lack of appropriately toxic chemicals might explain why the bathrooms in my school days stank horribly (of filth not cleaning chemicals) and stuff was often broken.

  70. Hellen June 9, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    I wonder if they have evaluated the level of toxicity in the school lunches. My son won’t eat it anymore (he is in 10th grade) and prefers to prepare his own to take with him.

  71. Suze June 9, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    I’ve heard everything. Now it’s sunscreen. I remember when my son was in school they banned hand sanitizer (I read it also mentioned upthread) I asked why and it was because there was ‘alcohol’ in it and kids might try and drink it. It isn’t bottles of vodka these kids are bringing to school, people !!! And my son would have no more touched my bottle of vodka at home then he would have ever tried to DRINK hand sanitizer.

    Kill me now. Ugh.

  72. Gary June 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    “I asked why and it was because there was ‘alcohol’ in it and kids might try and drink it.”

    There are two types of alcohol, ethanol which if potable food grade alcohol and denatured. They put the denaturant in it, which in turn makes it toxic, to prevent people from drinking it.

  73. Gary June 9, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    “…which if…”

    is, which is.

  74. Pee June 9, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    Did anyone see the poll on the site? Should students be allowed to take sunscreen to school for field trips and field days? Almost 5000 responses, with 97% saying yes.

  75. Stacy June 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    Thank goodness our school is sane on this issue. For kindergartners, the teacher helps them apply it. They recommend kids bring sunscreen on spring field trips. And bug spray — think of the poison in that. I have two children who don’t burn and only use sunscreen when swimming, but my other child has a red-head’s complexion and needs it.

  76. Silver Fang June 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    Stay classy, Texas!

  77. Roberta June 9, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    I imagine that it could also be harmful if children swallowed pencil leads or staples. Maybe it is time to give up on the idea of universal education all together.

  78. Kim June 9, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    “Typically, sunscreen is a toxic substance, and we can’t allow toxic things in to be in our schools,”

    A desk would also be toxic if you swallowed it. The fact that no one ever has swallowed enough desk or sunscreen to do any damage seems irrelevant. BAN DESKS!

  79. Ronni June 9, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    Ha ha; I went to school in this school district in the late 80s-early 90s. I’m pretty sure we were allowed to have sunscreen then!

  80. Jenny Islander June 10, 2014 at 1:41 am #

    I sent the links to the district; Aubrey Chancellor herself replied. I’m not sure about the propriety of quoting the entire e-mail. I will only note that she said that the students typically play in a covered area (in Texas, that’s very sensible!) and as for allowing sunscreen on field trips, “obviously there are a lot of different sides to this issue.” She also cite the standard warning label on suncreen containers.

    I asked her a lot of different questions. I quote myself:

    Have you considered that all sunscreen bottles are labeled “Keep Out of the Reach of Children” because children like to make messes with goopy and squirty things? It’s also possible that the companies that manufacture sunscreen are attempting to cover themselves from being sued in case a child decides to apply sunscreen to the floor and then slips in it.

    It’s reassuring that your students play under cover in Texas. In light of this information, your district’s policy seems less absurd. Perhaps you should have led with this instead of the assertion that sunscreen is “typically . . . a toxic substance.” As you can see from the NIH entry, it isn’t.

    As for the possibility of allergic reaction on a field trip, may I suggest basing your policy on what has happened, rather than what might happen? Have there in fact been documented cases of allergic reaction due to shared sunscreen? Have children in fact consumed sunscreen during school hours? In your school district? In your state? In the Sun Belt? If there have been such cases, how do they stack up against the nurses’ study I cited in my earlier e-mail? Note that the incident that got on the news was a sunburn suffered by a child who has a family history of cancer.

    Speaking of allergic reactions, by school age, in Texas, a child’s parent or guardian would probably already know whether their child has a life-threatening allergy to a component found in some brands of sunscreen, wouldn’t they? Would they not have informed the district?

    I don’t want to annoy the nervous behemoth of power by getting all Socratic, but heavens gracious, I sure hope these questions were already asked, or are asked soon!

  81. SOA June 10, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Good job Jenny

  82. Warren June 10, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    Very simple solution. Get your family doctor to write a letter to be carried by your child, that he/she orders the use of sunscreen for obvious health issues. Then remind your school that they do not have the authority to override your doctor. Problem solved.
    Get in their face and don’t stop until they give in.

  83. Jill June 10, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    In the interest of science, I took a sip of sunscreen to see whether (a) it was delicious, like a yummy lollipop or (b) it would kill me outright. It tasted horrible, to the point that even the most foolish or adventurous child wouldn’t drink more than a thimble-full, and I’m still alive, proving the point that whoever thought of this idiotic policy needs to have their head examined.

  84. Jill June 10, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Uh-oh! Commenter Stacy reports that teachers help kindergartners apply sunscreen. That means that somewhere, possibly right now, adults are TOUCHING CHILDREN’S BODIES!!! Alert the authorities immediately!

  85. SOA June 10, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    Warren: Not simple. I asked my doctor to write a note for sunscreen and he refused. He said it should not be necessary. Which I agree it should not be necessary, but he is an old doctor and he has no idea how much things have changed.

  86. chris June 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    I assume they’ve also removed hand soap, glue, cleaning supplies and any other liquid not intended for human consumption.

    Lenore Skenazy, you are a breath of fresh air.

  87. Dan June 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    I used to work at a kids activity centre (for those of you in the USA that’s like a summer camp in the holidays and somwhere where the schools go for team building during term time)

    We were encouraged to make sure kids had sunscreen on, we could and did give it out during hot weather (we got the hypoallergenic stuff ) anyone with an allergy to sunscreen along with it being on the health form would most likely know about it.

    We were not allowed to apply it for the kids (we would squirt it onto their hands and let them rub it where they wanted)

  88. Dirk June 19, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    I think the teachers just doesn’t want to reapply sunscreen all day, or at all.