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School's Sunscreen Ban Leaves Students Burned

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By Andrew Lu on June 26, 2012 9:45 AM

Young sisters Violet and Zoe Michener returned from a class field trip so sun-burned, their mother rushed them to the hospital.

The girls are fair skinned and one even suffers from a form of albinism, reports ABC.

But that didn't matter. Under the school's sunscreen ban, without a doctor's note, the girls could not carry their own sunscreen nor apply it to themselves. Could the school be held liable for the sunburn?

Despite the school's ban and the little girls' suffering, it's unlikely that anyone will be found at fault for the injuries -- besides the girl's own mother.

While sounding draconian, the school was simply following a statewide sunscreen ban. There are a lot of different additives and chemicals in sunscreen, and many children suffer allergic reactions, reports ABC. So the State of Washington passed the ban on sunscreen in schools without a doctor's note. In fact, only one state, California, allows the use of sunscreen in schools without a doctor note.

So the girls' mother, Jesse Michener, probably has no legal recourse if she decides to sue the school for her daughters' injuries. In a negligence lawsuit, the school would have the defense they were simply following the law.

In fact, the mother may have to blame herself. She said she did not apply sunscreen on the girls as it was raining that morning. Even if she didn't apply the sunscreen, she may have wanted to first inquire about the school's sunscreen policy, given her daughter's skin condition, and had a doctor's note ready just for such an occasion.

Two grade school girls were seriously sunburned as a result of a school's and state's sunburn ban. With the school simply following the law, the injured girls probably have little legal recourse.

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