“Kids Severely Sunburned at School Because They Didn’t Have ‘Prescription’ for Sunscreen”

by Walter Olson on June 24, 2012

According to the parent’s account, the principal of the Tacoma, Washington school cited liability reasons for the prevailing policy; on a happier note, a school official says a newly enacted law will allow that policy to be changed. [Jesse Michener via Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range-Kids]


1 William Nuesslein 06.24.12 at 5:00 am

My cousin Bobby got a bad sunburn while swimming in the barge canal in the 1950s. He had trouble almost every year of his life after that. I hope then kids in the instant post just have temporary mild discomfort.

2 Ed 06.24.12 at 10:52 am

Was it a prescription or just an authorization form from the parents? Schools are in a “damned if you do: damned if you don’t” paradox. If you don’t put on sun screen you get sued; if you do, you get sued by some new age parent who doesn’t want their kids exposed to “toxic” chemicals. There were reports in the new media of accused links between the use of sunscreen and cancer.

3 Mannie 06.24.12 at 10:56 am

The School System does not care a rat’s arse about the kids. They only care about their job security and pensions. Learn thgis, children, the teacher is not your friend.

4 David Smith 06.24.12 at 12:46 pm

Well, if the parents aren’t going to take enough interest in their kids to keep the idiots in the government under control . . . .

I guess you get stupid laws and your children pay a steep price.

5 Bill Poser 06.24.12 at 2:17 pm

Even more than the prohibition on sunscreen, where one can see the school’s concern about liability, the prohibition of hats even out of doors on Field Day is beyond belief.

6 David Schwartz 06.24.12 at 8:31 pm

Ed: Between those two choices, you have to pick the one that leaves the crazy people suing you and satisfies the sane people. To do otherwise is essentially child abuse.

7 IAMPCBOB 06.24.12 at 8:35 pm

From my own observations, it seems that plain common sense is in VERY short supply in our schools today. Yes, they are concerned about being sued. It seems to me a simple letter sent home ahead of time or a phone notification system would solve most of this easily. COMMUNICATION! Very important. As for concerns about getting cancer from the sunscreen products, I think I would be more worried about the effects of being sunburned and getting cancer from that. Again, just plain common sense.

8 Max Kennerly 06.24.12 at 11:21 pm

Are there any examples of successful “you shouldn’t have put sunscreen on my kids” lawsuits? I’ve certainly never heard of one, nor even heard of one being filed. School administrators have learned to blame every last act of stupidity on “liability concerns” because certain folks are more than happy to lap it up.

9 David Smith 06.25.12 at 5:52 pm


You don’t keep up on the stupidity of the law and venality of lawyers, do you?

I personally know of a case where the plaintiff signed a release, managed to seriously damage themselves while on the property . . . . LAWSUIT! and a lot of money for the plaintiff lawyers.

A friend used to own a home across the street from a lawyer w no visible means of support EXCEPT walking around the neighborhood and suing the locals for “code” violations and other things even more dubious.

Research the ongoing “oatmeal” altercation.

and the pending attempt to sue NetFlix for not having FULL texting W an audio of the action so both the deaf AND the blind can enjoy the movie. (Gawd knows what they’ll claim if a deaf and blind Helen Keller ever shows up).

10 Max Kennerly 06.25.12 at 8:43 pm

David, thanks for the lulz. I’ll look into that Oatmeal thing. Should I start at this post? http://overlawyered.com/2012/06/funnyjunk-menaces-the-oatmeal-with-nastygram/

11 AMcA 06.26.12 at 11:12 am

According to a story I saw the other day, 49/50 states prohibit sunblock in the schools without a prescription. Oddly, the only one that allows it is . . . . drum roll . . . California! I’m shocked the Golden State hasn’t caught up on this.

12 David Smith 06.29.12 at 12:04 am


That’s an OK place to start.

While you’re at it, research “Drive By Lawsuits” using ADA to screw money out of innocents w/o winning or even going to court.

If you think about it, after the first “drive by” it is conceivable (and legal) for THOUSANDS of lawyers to make the same “pay up or be sued” claim.

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