SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A story out of Washington state has some parents wondering what the rules are when it comes to sun block in Maine's schools, day cares and rec programs.
Jesse Michener of Tacoma, Washington was horrified to discover last week that her daughters were allowed to get horribly sunburned on a school field day because state law barred students from applying sunscreen. The school's principal told her that under state law, sun block is considered medication, and so a doctor's note was required.
Michener says she discovered every state, except California, has that rule. A spokesperson for the Department of Education could not confirm Monday that that is true in Maine. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human services says DHHS does not have any rules regarding sun block for licensed day cares in the state.
A lot of summer rec camps are started up Monday, and camp directors all have their own policies when it comes to sunscreen. Scarborough says it gets parental permission for counselors to apply sunscreen. The rec department sends a permission slip home with parents before camp starts, and requires parents to supply their own sunscreen. Counselors apply it multiple times throughout the day, but there must be two adults in the room at all times, so there is no question about sexual abuse.
South Portland's rec program, meanwhile, has spent more than $650 on large jugs of sunscreen for this summer. The camp also asks parents to supply sunscreen, and many kids keep it in their backpacks. Kids are told to apply it as many as three times a day if it is sunny outside.
Parents can opt out of allowing their kids to have sunscreen, but the recreation coordinator says she's never had anyone do it.
Portland's rec program asks parents to apply sunscreen before students come to camp and asks them to supply spray sunscreen for their kids. That way counselors never touch the kids. Kids use a buddy system to remind each other to apply sunscreen, and on sunny days, the camp provides shade tents for kids.
You can view recommendations on sunscreen use at camps from the Maine Comprehensive Cancer Control Program by clicking here.