Factors Impacting Sun Protection in California Schools

Factors Impacting Sun Protection in California Schools

Findings from a school-based sun safety study, Sun Safe Schools, were published recently in the Journal of School Health. The research team from Klein Buendel, Claremont Graduate University, the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Sun Safety for Kids examined the correlates of sun safety policy implementation in California public school districts.

In 2002, California was the first state to enact legislation governing sun protection for students. It is California Education Code Section 35183.5. In 2005, the Sun Safe Schools research team collaborated with California Schools Board Association to develop a comprehensive Sample Board Policy for sun safety (BP 5141.7) based on California law and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study included California public school districts that had already adopted the board-approved sun safety policy.

For the study, principals and teachers completed an online survey about sun protection policies and practices. Respondents reported on the implementation of ten school practices related to BP 5141.7 and indicated which practices, if any, were implemented in their school. Years in public education, years worked in the current district, perception that parents should take action to protect children from the sun, and respondents’ personal skin types were associated with the number of practices implemented in the school.

A full description of the methods, analyses, results, conclusions, and limitations can be found in the publication. In summary, the authors concluded that policy implementation is more likely among schools with experienced faculty, when parents are seen as important partners in student skin cancer prevention, and when school principals and teachers have a personal skin type at lower risk for melanoma.

The Sun Safe Schools program was a collaborative research effort of Claremont Graduate University (CGU), the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, and Klein Buendel. The research was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health (HD074416; Dr. Kim Reynolds, CGU, and Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators included Dr. Richard Meenan from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research; Dr. Jeff Ashley from Sun Safety for Kids in Los Angeles, California; Kim Massie previously from CGU; and Julia Berteletti, Xia (Lucia) Liu, and Mary Buller from Klein Buendel.

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