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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 2, 2017 03:26 PM
From: Representative Harold A. English
To: All House members
Subject: Sun Protection Measures for Students
Many children are exposed to UV radiation due to suboptimal sunscreen use and high rates of sun burning, and therefore at risk of excessive UV exposure which could lead to skin cancer development. It is a high priority to ensure that children can use sunscreen and sun-protective clothing when outdoors.

News outlets have reported that schools do not allow children to bring or use sunscreen without a prescription due to “medication bans” and fears of legal ramifications. In Pennsylvania, only the school nurse can administer sunscreen because it is considered an over the counter medication by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Just like Neosporin, students must have a doctor's order, not just their parent's permission, and the sunscreen has to be administered by a nurse. Kids can't even bring sunscreen to school and apply it themselves.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that school policies that prohibit hats or student possession of sunscreen can create barriers to the use of important sun protection methods.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends educating children, adolescents and young adults on the dangers of sun exposure to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Therefore, I am introducing legislation amending the Public School Code to allow for the outdoor use by students of sun-protective clothing, including, but not limited to hats. The bill provides that nothing would prevent a school entity from prohibiting certain clothing or hats based on the inappropriateness of the graphics, color or message of the clothing or hats.

In addition, my legislation would allow students, during school hours or at a school-sponsored activity, to apply a topical sunscreen product without a physician’s note or prescription if the product is approved by the FDA for over-the-counter use.

Moreover, a school entity may allow, but not require, school personnel to assist students in applying a topical sunscreen product with parental permission. Finally, school personnel may not be held liable in a criminal action or for civil damages for application of a topical sunscreen product if the topical sunscreen product is available to and used by the student in accordance with this legislation.

I invite you to join me in co-sponsoring this piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB1228