Monday, July 8, 2013

May A Student Carry Sunscreen And Sun-Protection Items On A School Campus?

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

With the raging hot sun in California, sun exposure is a serious concern for many parents. Consequences from sunburns can be painful and potentially dangerous. Can public schools deny students the ability to carry sunscreen or other sun-protection gear on campus?  Generally, no.

The need for youth to be protected is so important that the California legislature took the time to write and pass a law which gives students the right to carry sunscreen and to wear sun-protective clothing on school campuses.  

Per California Education Code section 35183.5:

(a) (1) Each schoolsite shall allow for outdoor use during the schoolday, articles of sun-protective clothing, including, but not limited to, hats.
   (2) Each schoolsite may set a policy related to the type of sun-protective clothing, including, but not limited to, hats, that pupils will be allowed to use outdoors pursuant to paragraph (1).  Specific clothing and hats determined by the school district or schoolsite to be gang-related or inappropriate apparel may be prohibited by the dress code policy.
   (b) (1) Each schoolsite shall allow pupils the use of sunscreen during the schoolday without a physician's note or prescription.
   (2) Each schoolsite may set a policy related to the use of sunscreen by pupils during the schoolday.
   (3) For purposes of this subdivision, sunscreen is not an over-the-counter medication.
   (4) Nothing in this subdivision requires school personnel to assist pupils in applying sunscreen.

As can be seen, limitations may be applied to sun-blocking apparel which may be "gang-related" or "inappropriate," but a student cannot be stopped from wearing a hat to block the sun which does not breach other school policies.  Students also cannot be forced to leave their sunscreen in the office or at home.  And, no adult or other school personnel needs to be involved in the application or administration of sunscreen.

So, during long hot days or otherwise when the sun is out, if your school states that your child may only leave their sunscreen in the office, can't carry it, or that the teacher needs to give out or apply the sunscreen, don't buy it.  Instead, cite the above code to uphold your child's sun-protection rights!

Michelle Ball
Education Law Attorney
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209

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Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting, etc. etc.!  This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship.

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