A mom was gobsmacked after her daughter wasn't allowed to use lip balm in class and when she reached out to her child's 5th-grade teacher about the issue, she was told that Chapstick was technically classified as medication and therefore needed to be kept in the office if students wanted to use it.
TikToker Jay Bans (@realitykeck) vented about the rule in a viral clip that's garnered over 13,000 comments. In the clip, she posted screenshots of her text conversation with the teacher and it seems that there are a lot of other users on the platform who are just as miffed about the "Chapstick Ban" as she is.
Jay begins her video with a text overlay that highlights her frustration with the scenario her child found herself in: "Teacher said my kid wasn't allowed to use WHAT?"
The TikToker said that she found herself in a "confrontation" with her daughter's 5th-grade teacher, which started after she picked her child up from school.
Jay noticed her child's lips were noticeably red, stating that it looked like she was "licking them raw" before reminding her that she had Chapstick in her backpack for this very purpose. According to her daughter, however, using the lip balm wasn't an option as her teacher prohibited the use of it in the classroom.
The video then cuts to a screenshot of Jay's conversation with her daughter's teacher, where she asks if her daughter was really informed she couldn't use lip balm in school, followed by an explanation that her daughter's lips become fairly chapped and that recently, the problem was so severe she developed an infection as a result of not properly protecting her lips.
The teacher's response appears to have been copied and then pasted from the school's "parent handbook" as Jay points out, from a section on medicine: stating that any type of medication a student requires must be prescribed and clearly labeled. The mom highlights that there's nothing in the teacher's response that specifically refers to lip balm use as being deemed unacceptable in the classroom.
The teacher's message went on to state that medication must be held in the school's office and if a student needs to use it, they must head there to take it as they cannot keep it in a book bag, lunch box, or in the classroom.
Jay's reply to the teacher plainly addressed what she found to be the absurdity of the situation.
"So my child has to have a signed form by her pediatrician to have chapstick in her backpack?"
The teacher said that this is the case and that "it will be kept in the office for her."
Jay thought that this was not the best use of time for her daughter in school, asking if her child was really expected to head to the office every time she wanted to use some lip balm.
She then said that none of her daughter's other teachers in the six years she's been at the school have taken issue with her using chapstick in the classroom.
Teach was sticking to their guns, writing back: "This is the policy that is in the parent handbook. I don't have the power to change the policy."
Jay thought it was ridiculous that this rule was being implemented now, and pointed out that there are other items found in the classroom that are categorized as medicine but are still used daily: "So you're saying that out of 6 years in this school you're the only teacher that applied this rule?"
The mother continued, telling the teacher that if her daughter is going to be suspended from school for using lip balm, then so be it: "So, you're telling me my child will be removed from school for carrying chapstick in her backpack? If that's the case, then suspend her I guess she will be bringing it. The FDA regulates hand sanitizer as an over-the-counter medication and we are required to use to at school daily in the classroom"
Jay (again) went on to say that she ensured to review the "code of conduct" and "parent handbook" pertaining to medication and didn't see a mention of lip balm or Chapstick in either of the school resources.
She capped off her video by stating that she's "usually not one of them moms" who acts "crazy" or "extreme" and asked her followers if she was in the wrong for demanding her daughter be allowed to apply lip balm while in the classroom.
Numerous commenters who replied to her clip didn't think she was out of pocket at all, including a school administrator who wrote: "Principal here. I don’t want to keep track of chapsticks in the office. She can keep it herself"
Someone else bluntly said: "The only one sounding crazy is the damn teacher"
Another educator wrote: "As a teacher, this is wild lol who has time to moderate chapstick usage? I barely remember to take attendance"
Someone else thought this was a clear instance of a teacher being pedantic just because they were in the position to do so: "This teacher is on a power trip. We had one like this last year. You’re not wrong mama!"
It seems that Jay's daughter isn't the only student who's been Chapstick chastised: a 2014 Daily Mail article highlighted how another elementary school classified lip balm as medication and left one student with cracked and dry lips fed up.
When the student brought her grievance to a school board meeting she was met with a bit of resistance, stating that lip balm could be considered a distraction in class, to which the 11-year-old replied that her lips bleeding all over her school work would be an even greater distraction.
Similar to the policy highlighted in Jay's video, however, it seemed that this school district ultimately solved the quandary by allowing students to bring lip balm into school with them only with a doctor's note...and it would have to stay in the office where students could administer it there.