Texas School District Bans Sunscreen as a 'Toxic Substance'

Illustration for article titled Texas School District Bans Sunscreen as a 'Toxic Substance'

No kid wants to wear sunscreen, because kids can barely grasp the concept of college, much less skin cancer. Hence the endless, heroic struggle of parents to prevent sunburns. Not helping, though: One Texas school has banned the stuff as a "toxic substance."


Christy Riggs tried to send her 10-year-old daughter on a class field trip with a bottle of sunscreen and instructions to reapply regularly. But ABC News reports she was thwarted by the policies and procedures of the North East Independent School District, where sunscreen is verboten. Banana Boat is banned. Verboten. Coppertone is contraband.

Important detail: This is in San Antonio, Texas.

District spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor confirmed the policy to KSAT. They consider sunblock medicine, and treat it with all the corresponding seriousness: "Typically, sunscreen is a toxic substance, and we can't allow toxic things in to be in our schools." This is apparently a common approach to sunscreen in schools and summer camps across the country, because it can be considered an over-the-counter drug.

Parents who want their children covered in this dreadfully dangerous controlled substance should slather them up real good before they drop them off, because they just can't have kids running around willy-nilly with their bottles of Bullfrog:

"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."

Kindergarteners have probably eaten weirder things. But surely if the kid is old enough to apply the stuff, she knows better than to snack on it. As far as clear and present dangers go, skin cancer seems to rank a little higher. The matter is especially personal for Riggs, whose father died of skin cancer earlier this year. She says her daughter came home from her field trip sunburnt.

The school district isn't totally unreasonable, though: If you provide a doctor's note, your child can store her sunscreen at the nurse's office and occasionally excuse herself from class to reapply. Fat lot of good that'd do on a field trip, though. Maybe they should issue everybody parasols and straw hats?



What? Seriously? This is beyond the bounds of good sense. There are some people who can apply sunscreen in the morning and be good for the rest of the day, but with my skin, that would be a laughable (or at least a laugh until it hurts) idea. A parasol and a straw hat wouldn't cut it either, as nice as those can be. I wouldn't ever be able to go on a field trip with those rules (though I probably would have tolerated that as a kid if it meant I was also exempt from outdoor gym classes...).