School Bans Sunscreen Because It's Too 'Toxic' for Kids -- Yes, Really

little girl getting sprayed with sunblockA mom named Christy Riggs has gone to battle with her daughter's school, because the San Antonio, Texas district has banned sunscreen. Apparently, the North East Independent School District won't allow students to bring block with them to school -- even when they're outside on a field trip -- because it's considered a toxic substance. Yes, really.

School district spokesperson Aubrey Chancellor said allergies are just one of several reasons why they won't allow it, claiming that students may share it, get it in their eyes, and have a serious reaction. Rrrright. But isn't getting sunburned -- even once, very badly, which studies show could double chances of melanoma -- considered a "serious reaction," as well?!

Unsurprisingly, Riggs' daughter -- who has very pale skin -- DID get burned during a field trip as a result of this bonkers policy. Ugh.

Let me first say that I can understand why anyone would be concerned about kids using certain sunscreens. The chemical ones that contain oxybenzone -- which is readily absorbed into the body and has been inked to allergies, hormone disruption, cell damage -- may potentially cause more harm than good. But there are plenty of physical sunblocks that use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, which sit atop the skin, to deflect both UVB and UVA rays.

But to ban ALL sunscreens seems nothing short of asinine. What kind of message does that send kids? That getting sun damage beats using sunblock? Unfortunately, misguided policies like this that moms like Riggs have to fight only serve to make it even MORE important for parents to talk to kids about the importance of sun protection -- and to ensure that those healthy habits we're teaching them can continue to be easily practiced at their schools sans copious amounts of red tape.

For the time being, the Texas school district plans to "treat sunscreen like a medicine," requiring kids to get a doctor's note to have it at school and to go to the nurse's office to reapply. They'll also reconsider their policy annually, but for the time being, fingers crossed parents and kids are willing to jump through all of these absurd hoops to keep sunburn at bay.

How do you feel about this policy?


Image via Robert Neff/Flickr

kid health


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wendy... wendywendy

That's standard where I live too.  Our request to parents was to apply sunscreen before school.  I taught preschool for many years and think it's in general stupid too.  Sometimes the allergic reaction can be pretty severe.  My eyes will swell almost shut, my face and chest gets tomato red and swollen and it takes about a week for all the symptoms to go away.  Even if I try to wash my hands after applying it to someone else, just the tiniest bit under a nail can cause a problem if I touch my face.

There had been a few instances where I put some of mine on a child when we were on a field trip, but I called a parent first.

And as an aside, it used to tick me off when 18 of 22 kids in class did not have sunscreen on, with the usual excuse that they ran out of time.  Well, that's with 1 kid, imagine how long it takes to do 18?

Robin Hartman

Yeah, like they don't have any other toxic substances in the school! What are they using to clean everything with?

Saphi... SaphiraJFire

Sunscreen allergies are real and cause a lot of issues. 

I am not shocked to seethe lack of sympathy to a child or teacher who has a real issue with different chemicals that can be in sunscreens. Not all are the same. 

Te biggest issue is one person could be allergic to one chemical in them and another person be fine with that same chemical but allergic to another one instead.

I missed a lot of school because of complications with different allergies I came in contact with because of another kid in class. Its a huge issue. These kids deserve a good education to and should not miss school because of another child who had no idea they had a problem to begin with.

should we go back in time to the day when no one talked about a child allergies until the child was sick because of it then forget it ever happened and not change anything>???? 

JUST curious

iicar... iicarmerin

I just apply on kid before she goes to school, as long as she's not getting wet it should last most of the say. When I worked in preschool we had to have a signed consent form before we could apply sunscreen to a child, we considered it to be like medication. Unfortunately, there are to many children with potentially life threatening allergies now a days, you have to consider the risks. One child may get a potential sun burn (again you can apply it before school) or a another child may, suffer a serious life threatening allergic reaction.

wendy... wendywendy

Robin Hartman:  they aren't using toxic substances to clean the school.  98% of the time it's a 1:10 bleach/water ratio, enough to kill germs and clean, but not enough bleach to say, ruin a shirt.

Torra... TorranceMom

Know what else is toxic? Skin cancer . . .

amazz... amazzonia

why do you need su screen at school anyways?!?!

Ashley Crouse

I'm the reverse here. I have an allergic reaction the sun. When I'm out in it too long I get a rash that itches like crazy. In order to not burn and not get this rash I have to reapply regularly. So, for me, having sunscreen at all times when I'm out is important. Granted, my school never had a rule like this so I didn't have to worry about it. However, I can see their side, too. I'm sure they don't want kids sharing something that would cause a potential severe allergic reaction. So, havingĀ  note and having it kept in the nurse's office isn't such a bad idea if they need it at school. For field trips, having the note and having the chaperone keep it would be an ideal solution.

Wendy Pollard

ugh, could we coddle the human race any more? Why don't we just build sterile bubbles for everyone. As an added bonus.. we could make them soundproof so you wouldn't have to hear things like Christmas music (no it's NOT holiday music) and heck while we're at it..we should make the bubbles with a screen that can surround the person so they don't have to see something when they view it as "offensive" as well.. hmm. now what do we have.. a dark,super sterile,sound proof, allergy proof,asshole proof,it doesn't jive with my view therefore is can't possibly be correct proof. hmm..what is the end result? A dark, plastic, overly sterile,bubble, where noting comes in and nothing goes out. This is where the human exisitance is headed.

CarolHH CarolHH

They will use toxic chemicals all over the school and serve unhealthy "toxic" food in the lunch room but no sunscreen? Weird. And yes parents, don't be lazy. Get up 5 minutes earlier to apply sunscreen to your kids...

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