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Schools Insensitive to Health Issues

June 27, 1993

* It is a proven fact that sunshine causes skin cancer. One thousand Australians and 7,000 Americans will die from skin cancer this year.

So what are Australians doing about it? Since the worst skin damage happens to those under 18 years of age, cancer fund officials in Australia visit schools to warn children about playing in the sun without protection. As a result, some Australian schools enforce a "no hat, no play" policy that requires children to wear hats on the playground. One school requires sunglasses as well.

Now, what does California do about it? Our school officials enact rules banning all hats and sunglasses on our school campuses. Worse yet, on our Los Altos campus in Camarillo, students are forced to eat lunch in the glaring midday sun. Students seeking shade are herded back to the designated lunch area by the school staff.

Los Altos students, during P.E., must run the track, exercise and do strenuous activities with no sun protection. A recent Cinco de Mayo assembly was held on the outdoor stage where performers and audience alike had no respite from the direct rays of the sun.

Obviously, our schools have been insensitive to the health needs of our children. What will it take to awaken our administrators--a voucher system or 100 telephone calls from concerned parents and medical professionals?

DIANA HIRES

Camarillo

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