School sunscreen ban leaves two Tacoma, Wash. students severely burned

By Justine Espersen

After her two daughters came home severely burned from an all-day school event, mother Jesse Michener is bringing matters to the school district.

Michener’s daughters Violet, 11, and Zoe, 9, attend a Tacoma, Wash. elementary school. Despite Zoe’s genetic condition of albinism that makes her especially sun-sensitive, the school didn’t allow them to apply sunscreen as there is a school policy ban against it.

“I was feeling all hot,” Zoe Michener said in an interview with Today. “I noticed that my shoulders were really more warmer than other parts of my body.”

“I was playing games with my friends and that’s when I basically started feeling like I was burning up,” sister Violet Michener continued.

The girls came home with blisters and swollen faces. It was so bad that Michener rushed the girls to the local hospital.

Along with 49 other states, this is a statewide policy that neither allows school staff to apply sunscreen to students nor students apply it to themselves. This is due to the additives in lotions and sunscreens that can cause an allergic reaction in children, according to Today Health.

“Because so many additives in lotions and sunscreens cause allergic reaction in children, you have to really monitor that,” Tacoma Public School District spokesman Dan Voelpel said.

Additionally, the FDA considers sunscreen an over-the-counter drug. California is the only state that allows sunscreen to be applied without a doctor’s note.

However, after Michener made her daughters’ story public, the school district has now apologized and told Michener a new law will be “allowed for districts to make their own distinctions about what is and isn’t allowed at school with regard to sunscreen and other over-the-counter medications.” The policy is to be revised by October, the district said.

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