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Today in the War on Drugs

[ 56 ] June 29, 2012 |

Schools and camps are banning sunscreen because it is an over the counter drug or something:

But sunscreen rules are common. They typically stem from state and local policies that stop kids from bringing any drug — including non-prescription drugs — to school, says Jeff Ashley, a California dermatologist who leads an advocacy group called Sun Safety for Kids.

Sunscreens are regulated as over-the-counter drugs, so many districts treat them like aspirin, just to be safe, he says.

H/T to Lindsay.

Comments (56)

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  1. Pinko Punko says:

    Wow. I have never heard this. I have heard of anti-sunscreen rules- but they are there to prevent someone from touching your kid- you know putting sunscreen on your kid. The world is EFFED up.

  2. Colin says:

    “just to be safe”

    Because melanoma is safer than having aspirin or sunscreen available to children.

  3. dangermouse says:

    just to be safe

    Fucking lol

  4. LawSpider says:

    Compelling parents to explain to their children that sometimes people need to ignore stupid rules: “Here, honey, put these sunscreen wipes in your pocket, and use it in the bathroom after lunch. Just don’t show them to anyone.” The problem is getting children to appreciate that they lack the maturity to evaluate by themselves which rules are stupid.

    • Malaclypse, NOT SOME SHITHOLE WITH A FUCKING BIG ARBYS says:

      The problem with that is sooner or later some kid will get caught, and find out that hard way how stupid ZERO TOLERANCE can be.

    • Or maybe it’s an early life lesson in not blindly following authority.

      • Franklin says:

        This is something I struggle with. We send our two year old to daycare and while I’m amazed at how well he listens and behaves there (but not for his parents, hmm), I hate to see him be such a sheeple!

        • NonyNony says:

          It should actually be okay for two year olds to blindly follow authority. They’re two – they don’t have the mental faculties for critical thinking yet. A two year old who is listening to what their teachers tell them isn’t necessarily going to be a blind “sheeple” when they’re 22 (and a two year old who is lashing out against their teachers isn’t necessarily going to be a critical thinking adult at 22 either – they may still just be mindlessly lashing out at 22).

          Mine is 5 now, and he’s always been categorized as a “good listener” by his teachers. But when people tell him some new fact about the world, one of his first responses is usually either “why” or “how do they know that”. I count that as a preliminary win, I just hope he keeps it up.

          • Franklin says:

            Of course I understand that two year olds need to be shown what the boundaries are, etc. especially for safety! I’m still holding out hope that he will be a revolutionary.

        • actor212 says:

          Vet the teacher better first, if it’s a concern.

      • none says:

        Crazy zero tolerance rules get otherwise rule-abiding children suspended from school or worse. This is one situation in which it’s best for the child to blindly follow authority, but parents and responsible adults need to take up the charge to get the crazy rules changed.

        FWIW, I have signed sunscreen permission slips for school and summer camp for several years now. It seems crazy to me, but there you go. For every parent who thinks it’s nuts to not apply sunscreen to a child, there’s one out there who will holler and scream about authorities putting unnatural chemicals on their child’s skin without their permission. There are some people out there who are convinced that PABA is worse than the sun exposure.

        • Pinko Punko says:

          Some parents think that putting sunscreen on a kid is the gateway to molestation.

          • Mike G says:

            Solution – get the spray sunscreen. Spray everywhere but the facial area, then have them apply sunscreen by hand to the face, which cannot (though I underestimate the stupidity of school administrations) be construed as “inappropriate touching”.

            Glad I don’t have kids when I read about insanity like this.

            • have them apply sunscreen by hand to the face, which cannot (though I underestimate the stupidity of school administrations) be construed as “inappropriate touching”.

              “They made my child touch themselves while they watched!”, some idiot will say,

  5. Malaclypse, NOT SOME SHITHOLE WITH A FUCKING BIG ARBYS says:

    I’m reminded of the story of a woman who, when a drunk driver ran the phone booth she was using, she decided to sue–the phone company!

    Interestingly, I could find no record of this fascinating story anywhere on the internet.

    • UberMitch says:

      You know, even if that never happened, its trivially easy to think up scenarios in which the hypothetical injured woman would have a meritorious claim against the phone company.

      • Malaclypse, NOT SOME SHITHOLE WITH A FUCKING BIG ARBYS says:

        I’m just intrigued that Rich Venema of SOME SHITHOLE, VIRGINIA talks about phone booths as though they are a thing that exists today.

    • And now YOU know…the rest of the story.

    • rea says:

      It was a real case (although the plaitniff wsas male)–Reagan used in a speach–but as you might expect, a few key facts were left out. See Bigbee v. Pacific Tel. & Tel. Co., 192 Cal.Rptr. 857, 34 Cal.3d 49 (1983). Note: the booth was in an unreasonably dangerous location–there was a history of phone booths there being hit by cars, and (2) the guy saw the car coming and could have gotten out in time–but the door to the booth was defective and jammed, trapping him. He lost a leg.

      • rea says:

        Also 665 P.2d 947. Sorry I can’t link to the case itself–I read it on a proprietary legal research site.

      • Sherm says:

        Well done. It appears that Bigbee was the McDonalds case for the tort deformers of the 1980′s.

        • rea says:

          Sometimes I actually get paid for finding caselaw, improbable though that may seem.

          • I read this as “coleslaw” and I was NOT SURPRISED AT ALL.

            • Hogan says:

              rea, let me know if you find any potato salad.

              • rea says:

                Payton v. Lee, 88 Ga.App. 422: 77 S.E.2d 77 (1953):

                The aforesaid food, and particularly the potato salad, on the cold plate was unwholesome and unfit for human consumption, and was carelessly sold to the plaintiff by the defendant as wholesome food. The defendant, having prepared and served the food, knew or should have known of its unwholesomeness.

                • NonyNony says:

                  Now I’m curious – how did the judge rule? Was the potato salad bad or not?

                • Hogan says:

                  It was not proven to be bad.

                  This evidence establishes without contradiction that the defendant was not negligent in the preparation of the potato salad, and that the salad was not unfit for human consumption, unless it can be said that the fact of the salad being unfit for human consumption can be established by the circumstantial evidence that the plaintiff ate it and became ill; and even under the circumstantial-evidence theory, the evidence does not meet the test as it does not exclude every other reasonable hypothesis as to the cause of the plaintiff’s illness save that the potato salad was unfit for human consumption. It is just as reasonable that she was suffering from the virus disease prevalent in the community–and this is so, under the facts of this case, despite her physician’s surmise to the contrary–or that her illness was caused from some unknown source, as that the potato salad had caused it and therefore such salad was unfit for human consumption. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta v. Haynie, 207 Ga. 385 (62 S. E. 2d 174).

                  Now I need to find this case that involves potato salad and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

                • rea says:

                  Yes, it was.

                • rea says:

                  Or maybe [blushing] I, like a CNN reporter, failed to read all the way to the end before opening my mouth.

      • Malaclypse, NOT SOME SHITHOLE WITH A FUCKING BIG ARBYS says:

        That was actually interesting, thank you.

      • Bruce Baugh says:

        Thank you, rea! I love getting actual information in response to this kind of thing.

    • solidcitizen says:

      Wait, did a Rick Venema, COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VIRGINIA post get deleted? Can someone be declared the greatest troll ever, then be deleted that same day? Seems unfair.

  6. Barry Freed says:

    “Sunscreen” is a gateway drug. Next thing they’re doing “Bath Salts” and before you know it they’re naked, chewing some poor homeless guys face off.

  7. Voice of reason says:

    You can bet that Mal doesn’t have a JOB by the stunning number of comment spread out the whole workin day.
    He’s a BUM.

  8. Kate says:

    In my experience in school districts, schools prohibit sunscreen because some children develop severe skin irritations from certain brands. Children who bring in their own might loan some out to a child who is allergic to it.

    Parents are advised to put sunscreen on children before they arrive to school. On special “field days” children bring in sunscreen that is approved by their parents. Given that recess in most schools lasts about 25 minutes and children do not go out on days of excessively high or low temps, not sure this is a big problem.

    Finally, for anyone who has spent time in an elem. school classroom, sunscreen not put on properly by children gets in their eyes, stains clothing, and potentially irritates other children.

  9. Warren Terra says:

    Is there the slightest bit of evidence this story is even true? You will note that no school district is named, no representative of a school district cops to having such a policy or even is quoted as refusing to speak to the reporter. The only evidence given is:
    1) On a field trip, kids got sunburned. This was careless, and unfortunate, and can be avoided in the future. No evidence is given that a drugs-ban, or indeed a formal policy of any sort, was responsible or even was active.
    2) Some self-promoting California Dermatologist has (or is) a lobbying group, and claims these bans are A Major Crisis.
    3) Some schools have rules against perfumes (which the reporter or the aforementioned obnoxious dermatologist willfully mischaracterizes as being against allergens, as opposed to being about a few dozen kids in a small room), and other schools’ rules that ban teachers from feeling up kids are interpreted to mean teachers can’t apply sunscreen.

    I mean, seriously folks: some writer for the friggin USA Today writes a poorly sourced histrionic screed about how The Nanny State Has Gone Mad, suitable for The Daily Mail, and you take it seriously? What are you all, twelve?

    • Malaclypse, NOT SOME SHITHOLE WITH A FUCKING BIG ARBYS says:

      I know that when my kid (in kindergarten) has an outdoor field trip, we always get a note to put sunblock on at home, because the school cannot apply it for them. I suspect that the story got exaggerated from something like this.

      • Kate says:

        Right. In this case, the mother neglected to put sunscreen on her daughter. It’s unfortunate that she received a sun burn and certainly the school should have anticipated such issues. However, I’m sure this fair-skinned child will have more than one sun burn in her life; the school can’t be blamed for everything. If the school had lathered her up with a brand she was allergic to, I’m sure this same Mom would have sued the district. Obviously Tacoma needs to rethink its field day health precautions but like above poster, I believe that this case is bit exaggerated.

        • Hogan says:

          It was raining when the girls left for school Tuesday morning, but the sun came out midday, and ended up burning Violet and Zoe so severely that their mother took them to Tacoma General Hospital that evening.

          Tacoma Public Schools policy prohibits teachers from putting sunscreen on students. Students can apply their own, but are required to have a doctor’s note authorizing them to use it.

          District spokesman Dan Voelpel says the doctor’s note policy is actually based on a statewide law, and is aimed at preventing kids from sharing sunscreen with someone who might have an allergy. He says there are many students in the district with allergies to common additives in sunscreens and lotions.

          Parents are encouraged to apply sunscreen before sending their children to school, or dress them appropriately for sunny weather.

          Michener takes full responsibility for her decision not to put sunscreen on the girls before they left the house, but says ultimately, that point is irrelevant. For the sunscreen to be effective, it would have had to be reapplied midday anyway.

          Michener says she has trouble understanding why the adults who reportedly commented on her daughters’ worsening burns didn’t simply remove them from the sun and have them wait inside for field day to finish, or give Michener a call and ask her to stop by with sunscreen for her children.

          • Kate says:

            OK, but in that same article, the mother also states that her daughter suffers from a condition of albinism. Even on a rainy day, Albino children are overly sensitive to the sun since they do not produce enough melanin. I can’t help but wonder that if the school district did ask Drs. notes for sunscreen, why didn’t she do it at the beginning of the school year? That way she wouldn’t have to worry about her kid getting burned on the very last day. She could of simply packed the lotion and the school nurse would have administered it. Getting a Drs. notes for something like over the counter sunscreen doesn’t even require a visit, providing the patient does not have allergies to sunscreen.

            If this mother had followed school protocall on the first day like most parents, this wouldn’t have happened. Also, if you know your child suffers from albinoism, I think you’d be very careful to have the drs. note on file.

            I should say I do agree that the district needs to be more clear about their policies. If a kid doesn’t confirmation that the lotion is on or included in their backpack, the student should spend field day inside. I just don’t think this is a matter of the “War on Drugs”. It’s more about schools worried about getting sued if Johnny or Sally has an allergice reaction to the lotion.

    • Hogan says:

      no school district is named

      Tacoma Public Schools is a school district.

      Local coverage here, including comments from a district spokesperson (I got the link from the school district’s website).

      • Warren Terra says:

        Named, yes, but not named in USA Today as having any policy against sunscreen.

        Following your link, the district has a policy requiring a doctors note, and not allowing the sharing of sunscreen nor allowing a teacher to feel up the student. A doctor’s note is a bit much (a parent’s note would seem sufficient, at least to avoid the liability the district plainly fears), but this is not an insane policy, and – critically – it’s got bugger-all to do with a drugs ban.

  10. AGM says:

    Growing up in Australia I used to regularly get lunch time detention/playground clean up duty for not wearing a hat. Sunscreen was also mandatory for any class activity that involved a field or a pool. I believe if you were allergic you had to provide a note or your own sunscreen.

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