‘Make sunscreen mandatory at school’
A GOLD Coast mum is calling on the state and federal governments to protect children by ordering mandatory sunscreen reapplication in schools.
Karen Nash has launched what she calls the RAYS campaign (Re-Apply Your Sunscreen), a movement she hopes will result in teachers ensuring sunscreen is provided to students.
As a mother of a prep-aged child, she wants to make it mandatory for pupils to reapply sunscreen at least once during the day.
"We live in one of the most sun cancer prone areas in Australia but there are no legal requirements for schools to ensure pupils reapply sunscreen during the day," she said. Ms Nash said even with current sun safety standards, children as young as four are required to take responsibility for sun screen and can come home sunburnt.
"We stop children smoking because it causes cancer. We also know sunburn causes cancer. Why aren't we doing everything we can?" she said.
"With the knowledge that we have regarding the harmful effects of the sun and the benefits of sunscreen, it is no longer adequate for the Government to allow schools to self-regulate this issue."
Ms Nash has set up a petition, which has been posted on Change.org and already has the support of more than 150 parents.
Gold Coast mother Rebekah Lolohea said she agreed with the petition and would like to see sunscreen introduced before her three and a half year old daughter Tiare starts school.
"I think it's a good idea," she said.
"I'm very sun safe so I would definitely appreciate it if teachers were required to put sunscreen on my child to make sure she's protected from the rays."
But time-starved teachers had reservations about the logistics involved in the policy.
Queensland Teachers Union organiser Jodie McFadden said allergies could be a key stumbling block.
"QTU have encouraged members to develop plans for extreme weather conditions for workplace health and safety purposes," Ms McFadden said.
"Teachers should not be required to provide sunscreen as they may be unaware of student allergies.
"Sun safe education does occur in schools."