Some school districts have already responded
to the California law pertaining to sun
protection. Unfortunately, some of these same
districts have neglected to effectively
communicate or encourage the implementation of
their new policy to the school community.
UV radiation is a significant health hazard
that is encountered at school, at
school-sponsored activities, and elsewhere.
We hope that schools will not only adopt a
comprehensive sun safety policy but also go the
distance to ensure that the policy is
effectively disseminated to parents, students,
Provide parents with background information that
outlines why sun safety is so important in the
fight against skin cancer. Explain the
details of the school’s policy and urge parents
to partner with the school to encourage student
sun-safe behavior both at school and at home.
Remind parents to “walk the walk” themselves.
Convey messages in multiple media, such as
letters, E-mail, the school website, and
parent-teacher meetings. Ensure that when
parents search for details pertaining to the
school’s sun safety policy, such as what type of
hat is allowed, it will be relatively easy to
Sun safety policy and recommendations should be
reviewed at the beginning of each school year
and again during the first week of March.
This might be combined with sun safety
instruction and, in elementary school, a
screening of The Sun Show. Keep sun safety
on students’ radar through announcements and
reminders tied to the UV index, sun safety tips,
posters, items for sale (school hat, sunscreen,
playshirt, etc), and of course seeing teachers
who model sun-safe behavior. Send students
off for spring and summer vacation with the
reminder to: “Stay sun-safe!”
Teachers might need to be informed of certain
policies directly affecting them as employees,
as well as others pertaining to the student body
which they could help to enforce.
Pre-service and in-service training should
include a policy review along with general sun
safety education. In order to increase
their level of motivation and willingness to
model sun-safe behavior, help teachers
understand the stakes. They must know that
they and their students can reduce the risk of
dying from skin cancer through the practice of
sun safety. Ask teachers to devote extra
attention to children whose skin cancer risk is
higher due to light skin color.