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 Miss Jessica Elkins

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Students may now use and apply sunscreen at school


Alabama students can now use sunscreen at school

A change in Alabama law will allow students to possess and apply sunscreen at school.
A change in Alabama law will allow students to possess and apply sunscreen at school.

Gov. Kay Ivey recently put her signature to bill that ends a long-standing ban on sunscreen at Alabama's schools.

Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, sponsored the bill. It allows students at Alabama's public and private schools to use sunscreen despite any existing State Department of Education or Board of Nursing regulations that restrict the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications. It also makes the schools immune from liability if a student does - or doesn't - opt to apply sun protection.

Under the old regulations, sunscreen was treated as a medication and students could be required to have a doctor's note in order to possess or apply it at school. The regulations weren't enforced across-the-board, however, and some school systems allowed students to use over-the-counter sunscreen on their own.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, children should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors. The use of sun block can lessen exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun's rays, the most common cause of melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer in children, encompassing about 7 percent of all cancers in children ages 15 to 19.

Alabama is among a growing number of states making it easier for students to use sunscreen at school.

Washington state, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Texas, New York and California have laws in place to allow students to use sun block at school. Rhode Island, Louisiana and Florida are currently considering similar legislation.

Alabama's new law went into effect immediately.