In the U.S. public education system, schools often have policies outlining the use and handling of medications on campus, guiding how they are to be stored and administered to students who are permitted to use them.
Whether it is a child’s EpiPen or a bottle of aspirin, medications often require notes from a child’s doctor to be kept in school and must be brought to their campus directly by their parent or guardian.
Such policies often outline what qualifies as medicine. One item that typically is not on the list: lip balm.
However, some folks do consider lip balms, salves, and ChapStick to be over-the-counter drugs, depending on the ingredients. In 2014, a Virginia school board banned the use of ChapStick by elementary school students, allegedly over concerns about students “sharing medication.”
While it is not clear whether her daughter attends this school district, one mother has taken to TikTok to share that her daughter has similarly been disallowed from using lip balm to prevent chapped lips at school.
In a video that has drawn over 2.6 million views and garnered more than 11,000 comments, Jay Bans (@realitykeck) says her fifth-grade daughter’s teacher not only told her she would not be allowed to use ChapStick in her class, but that if she wanted to bring it to school at all, it would have to be kept secure in their school’s office, with a note from her doctor.
In screen captures of messages between herself and the teacher, Jay says the educator referred to a district policy requiring these measures.
“Yes, I reviewed the code of conduct about medication,” Jay says in the video. “It doesn’t say nothing about ChapStick. Yes, I reviewed the parent handbook, which does not say anything about ChapStick. So, babygirl’s going to be taking her ChapStick to school tomorrow. If I’m crazy, if I’m extreme, or if I sound way off, tell me. Tell me, because I’m usually not one of them moms.”
She says this had not been an issue with her daughter’s five previous teachers. However, in follow-up videos, she says that when she escalated the issue to the school’s principal, she was told it was fine for her daughter to have her ChapStick. She says the principal then told her daughter at school that the ChapStick would have to be kept in the office, and her mother would have to write a note explaining why she needed it.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Jay via Instagram direct message regarding the videos.
@realitykeck #greenscreen Petty world we live in people. #fyp #momsoftiktok #momtok ♬ original sound – Jay Bans
Several viewers agreed with the poster, sharing that they worked in education and certainly would not want to keep track of students’ lip balms, and questioned why her teacher cared.
“Principal here,” one commenter wrote. “I don’t want to keep track of chapsticks in the office. She can keep it herself.”
“As a teacher, this is wild lol who has time to moderate chapstick usage?” another said. “I barely remember to take attendance.”
“I want to see the update,” a further user requested. “I work in a public school.. in many classrooms and have NEVER heard they can’t have chapstick.. that’s ridiculous!”
Others shared ways she could respond to such concerns from her daughter’s teacher.
“That’s when I would buy a value pack and have her hand out chapstick to all her friends,” one commenter wrote.
“Get her a doctors note that states explicitly that the chapstick has to be kept on her at all times,” another commented. “I ONLY suggest it because it’ll annoy them.”
“I’m with you! I would tell my kid everytime she wants it, go and get it,” a further viewer shared. “Teacher will get sick of class interruptions real quick and let her have it.”