Sunscreen Banned while Ritalin Abused
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
After cracking down on lemon drops, the zero-tolerant war on drugs has turned to another substance: sunscreen.
With the earth's ozone layer becoming thinner and ultraviolet rays from the sun beaming down ever stronger, causing skin cancer, many people have been applying sun screen to help prevent the disease.
It is especially important for children to avoid sunburn, because research has found that childhood burns may much later lead to cancer. But sunscreen has now been banned as a drug in schools.
The Ballwin Elementary School in the Rockwood School District, west St. Louis County, prohibits children from applying sunscreen. In Rockwood, there is a list of illegal drugs, including cough drops and sunscreen. Sunscreen is considered an over-the-counter medication, and therefore a drug.
Two girls at the school also studied one day per week at the Center for Creative Learning, a school that serves gifted children in the district. There, they learned about the effects of ultraviolet radiation, and that children who spend much time outdoors are susceptible to skin disease in later years. In Australia, children normally apply sunscreen. But Australia is a sensible country, while the USA, "land of the free and home of the brave," has gone berserk. But this is only the beginning of the insanity.
If any over-the-counter medication is considered a drug and therefore banned in zero-tolerant schools, they will go much further. Besides cough drops, the following items also will need to be banned in school: bandaids, deodorants, and vitamins.
Herbs are also drugs, and commonly used in cooking. Zero-tolerance requires banning all herbs and spices in foods. Curry and chili are drugs that affect the body. That applies also to pepper, sugar, and salt.
Even worse, many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and vitamins, and are sprayed with chemicals. Most meat is raised using antibiotics and other drugs, which may remain in the food; all fruits, vegetables, and meat must be banned from school if they are to practice true zero-drug-tolerance.
Clothing contains chemicals that can rub off on skin. Pure zero tolerance for any drugs requires forcing children to remove their clothing when entering the school and wearing a special zero- chemical school uniform with a picture of "big brother" on the back staring at everyone behind. Children must not touch any pencils, because some the lead may touch their skin. They may drink water, but it must be distilled so that it does not contain minerals.
Children in school must not hold hands, because the parents of some children may have applied sunscreen, which may rub off on another child. Children who cough or sneeze will be given Ritalin.
While demanding zero-tolerance from children, school officials routinely force children to take dangerous drugs such as Ritalin, which is used on "unruly" children. In the last several years, while drugs such as lemon drops and sunscreen have been banned, the use of Ritalin has more than doubled. The routine use of Ritalin to quiet children has raised alarms over its overuse.
It is easier to medicate children than to find out what the cause of their problem is. What kind of message does it send to a child if he takes a pill every day to "control" his behavior, and is then told that drugs are bad, even lemon drops and sunscreen?
School officials claim they use Ritalin for ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But there is no definitive test for ADHD, and its symptoms may just be childhood playing, some disease that needs real curing, boredom, child rebellion, or allergies.
Dr. Peter Breggin, a Maryland psychiatrist and critic of psychiatric medications such as Prozac, describes the Ritalin phenomenon as "an incredible commentary on our society." "Instead of addressing the basic needs of kids, we drug them," Breggin said. "Better family life, educational facilities, spiritual direction, a safer environment, better television and videos - forget about it. Just drug 'em."
So the real issue here is not drugs as such, since the government schools are pushing Ritalin, among other drugs. The real issue is power. Zero-tolerance gives the government and school administrators totalitarian power over all details of children's lives, while eliminating any rebellion with drugs that turn students into docile subjects.
No wonder the government school teacher unions are so fiercely resisting the privatization of the school system. More private schools would provide an alternative with common-sense policy, finding the real cause of any behavioral problems while not imposing totalitarian rule over trivial matters.
-- Fred Foldvary
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Copyright 2001 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.