By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
When even the kids know the nanny state has gone too far, well, you know its really gone too far.
The Augusta County School Board in Virginia was scolded this week by an 11-year old girl who takes issue with the School Board’s decision to ban lip balm. This past winter, Grace Karaffa was told by her teachers that she was not allowed to bring lip balm to school or to wear it while in the building because of concerns that some students might be allergic.
Even when the fifth graders lips became so chapped that they started to bleed, her teacher would not relent — citing school district policy about lip balm.
“I was told I couldn’t use it. Then later that day they (lips) started to bleed so I asked for Chapstick again and I was told that it was against the school policy for elementary kids to have Chapstick,” Grace told School Board officials at a meeting on Monday, according to the Lynchburg News and Advance newspaper.
A petition circulated by Grace has gathered more than 230 signatures challenge the school’s ban on lip products. She presented the petition to the School Board and called the ban “inappropriate.”
Fox News reported that a member of the School Board told Grace that the use of ChapStick in school could be a distraction for students.
Grace, who apparently possesses, at age 11, more common sense than the entire School Board put together, responded by pointing out that a student with bleeding lips is probably suffering a worse distraction.
In a statement provided to Fox News, the Augusta County Schools superintendent’s office said the ChapStick rule was based on input from local health care experts.
“Health officials were concerned that the sharing of items like Chapstick, lip gloss and other lip balm products among elementary-aged students might well have been contributing to a serious infectious disease outbreak,” the statement read. “The school division chose to control the use of these products not because of a concern that they are inherently dangerous, but out of a concern that they may have been a means for the transmission of disease.”
Yes, some students might suffer allegories to lip balm and ChapStick. No, the appropriate response to that concern is not banning all students from using those types of products in school.
And if students sharing ChapStick is a concern because it spreads infectious diseases, perhaps teachers and school officials could offer a lesson about personal hygiene by instructing students not to share ChapSticks — just like one wouldn’t share a piece of gum after chewing it.
Instead, school officials in Virginia have taught an entirely different lesson: Governments of all shapes and sizes often act without regard to logic. That’s an important lesson too, I suppose.
But the Augusta County School Board wasn’t ready for a fifth-grader with the good sense of Grace Karaffa.
For their efforts, the School Board is our nanny of the week. Their prize is a long, cold, windy winter without a single tube of ChapStick to help them cope.
Boehm can be reached at EBoehm@Watchdog.org and follow @WatchdogOrg on Twitter for more.
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