Dry-lipped Johnston County students can tear up their permission slips — they're no longer needed to bring lip balm to class.
Johnston schools Superintendent Ed Croom on Monday sent a letter to parents informing them that they'll need to write a note only if they don't want their kids to use lip balm, hand sanitizer or sunscreen.
Croom wrote that the change is "an effort to bring clarity to this situation," after some news reports said that a doctor's note was necessary for the items.
Schools spokeswoman Terri Sessoms said officials made the change after talks with the Johnston County Health Department, which established the policy. The health department has authority over public-health issues in government agencies, including schools.
"They felt that it would be simpler for parents who did not want their children to have lip balm to notify the school rather than the other way around," Sessoms said.
The permission requirement stemmed from parent concerns that kids were sharing lip balm — and germs — and that some students were allergic to hand sanitizer.
But the policy caused confusion even before it made news. A newsletter from West View Elementary in the Cleveland community told parents lip balm simply wasn't allowed, and the school's handbook only mentioned medicated lip balm — not the over-the-counter variety most folks use.