Violet and Zoe Michener spent five hours in the hot sun during their school’s field day, but despite high temperatures and blazing sun their school’s officials refused to let the sisters put on sunscreen.
The result was a trip to the hospital and burns so severe that the middle schoolers are still feeling the effects days later. Their mother, Jesse Michener of Tacoma, Wash., said she decided not to put on sunscreen in the morning as it looked overcast and rainy, The Huffington Post reported.
Even if she had put on sunscreen, it still would not have covered the sisters for the duration of their school’s outdoor activities, as doctors recommend re-applying every two to three hours. That was where the trouble started for the sisters—their school officials were not allowed to put sunscreen on the girls or even let them do it themselves.
“They couldn’t even reapply sunscreen without a doctor’s note. They couldn’t carry that in their backbacks,” Jesse Michener told ABC News.
It is actually against Washington state law for school officials to let students apply sunscreen without a doctor’s note, ABC reported. A representative from the district told ABC tat the additives in lotions and sunscreens can cause allergic reactions in children.
The girls’ sunburns were made worse by a form of albinism that both have, their mother said. When they returned home from school the burns looked so bad that she brought her daughters to the hospital.
Jesse Michener said she was upset that teachers showed such little awareness of the dangers of keeping children in the sun. One teacher had sunscreen but wouldn’t let the girls use it, and they weren’t allowed to put on hats, which are also against school policy.
The situation has worried doctors, who warn about the dangers of sunburns.
“Having a sunburn in childhood dramatically increases your risk of skin cancer later in life,” dermatologist Doris Day told ABC News.