School Sunscreen Ban Leaves Student Severely Sunburned

PHOTO: Severely sunburned at school, Violet and Zoe Michener came home from field day so burned that their mother rushed them to the hospital.
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It was scorching pain that could have been avoided.

Violet and Zoe Michener came home from field day so burned that their mother rushed them to the hospital.

The sisters aren't just fair-skinned. Zoe has a form of albinism that makes her particularly sun-sensitive.

"Yeah, I was crying about my sunburn," Zoe said.

Mother Jesse Michener of Tacoma, Wash. said she regrets not putting sunscreen on them that morning since it was raining.

Even so, doctors recommend re-applying every 2 to 3 hours when outside but that's against their school rules.

"They couldn't even reapply sunscreen without a doctor's note. They couldn't carry that in their backbacks," said Jesse Michener.

The school district said it has to ban sunscreen because it's state law.

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

Sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as an over the counter drug.

Many American schools don't allow them without a doctor's note

In fact, California is the only state to allow sunscreen in school without one.

With millions of kids gearing up for summer camps and daycare where they'll be exposed to midday sun, the situation has doctors worried.

"Having a sunburn in childhood dramatically increases your risk of skin cancer later in life," said dermatologist Doris Day.

Day believes even though suncreen allergies are very rare, they don't justify a ban.

"I can't see any justification for any school to tell a child that they are not allowed to apply sunscreen," she said.

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