Cleveland schools asking parents to send in sunscreen along with supplies

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland schools are asking parents to include sunscreen in their list of back to school supplies this year.

Ohio just became the seventh state to pass SUNucate legislation for schools. This new law takes sunscreen off the list of medications that require a doctor's note or a prescription.

Cleveland Schools' Director of Nursing and Health Services Debbie Aloshen knows first hand the damage that the sun can do.

"I've had three spots - basil cell already," said Aloshen.

Aloshen says medical professionals like her have tried for years to get the red tape connected to the use of sunscreen at school removed.

"In the past, we had to send individual notes home on every child that needed sunscreen. If they were going some place, we expected the parents to send it to us. Now there's two problems with that. It needed a doctor's signature, and it needed a parent to fill it out totally and then send the sunscreen, which it can break down in any of those three parts - usually the doctor," said Aloshen.

The risks of not using sunscreen are dangerous.

"We are seeing melanoma in teenagers and young adults. We never saw that before. We'd see melanoma in 50- and 60-year-olds, but to see it in a 16- or 17-year-old is devastating," added Aloshen.

Aloshen says she's heard people say 20 minutes outside at recess without sunscreen is harmless. She says she's also heard people say that only fair skinned people need to wear it. Both statements are untrue, according to many doctors.

"It happens with children of all races - people have got to remember that. It's not the very fair skinned kids, it can be the dark skinned kids who will burn terribly," said Aloshen.

Parents are not required to send in sunscreen right now, but the hope is that parents will be able to afford to buy it and send it in right along with pencils and notebook paper.

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