Grace Under Fire: 11-Year-Old Girl Banned From Using ChapStick At School For Her Bleeding Lips

ChapstickVirginia’s Augusta County school board is in deep deliberation this week after a request of an 11-year-old girl, Grace Karaffa, that she be allowed to circumvent a zero tolerance rule. What is the little demon trying to bring into Stuarts Draft Elementary School, you ask. Heroin? Crossbow? No, Grace wants to bring in ChapStick to keep her lips from bleeding. That’s right, the little Chaphead was caught red lipped in class by a teacher who confiscated the tube. Personally, I am thankful that one school is fighting chap heads who often use peer pressure to get other children to moisturize. ChapStick is a known gateway product to more dangerous products like hand lotion and Deep Pore Scrubs.

At the time of the confrontation, the teacher said that other children might be allergic. It appears that ChapStickitis is common in Augusta County. It appears that ChapStick exposure is a more serious health concern than exposure to bleeding lips.

I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (here, here and here and here and here). Here is a prior column on the subject (and here).Children have been suspended or expelled for drawing stick figures or wearing military hats or bringing Legos shaped like guns or even having Danish in the shape of a gun. Even a student who prevented another student from continuing to cut himself was suspended for taking possession of the razor and dispensing it.

In this case, Grace was just trying to keep her dry lips from bleeding. The elementary school backed up the teacher, of course, in another mindless application of zero tolerance. Grace however took her chapped lips and went to the school board. A board member questioning Grace on their proposal and expressed concern that ChapStick would be a distraction to other children (apparently more than bloody lips). Notably, Grace’s lips were bleeding at the time but that did not offer a mitigating circumstances. They are still studying the issue.

Notably, Grace’s lips were bleeding at the time but that did not offer a mitigating circumstances.

In the meantime, the Augusta County Schools Superintendent is standing by the fight against ChapStick, saying that it is a health concern:

“Health officials were concerned that the sharing of items like Chapstick, lip gloss and other lip balm products among elementary-aged students might well have been contributing to a serious infectious disease outbreak . . . The school division chose to control the use of these products not because of a concern that they are inherently dangerous, but out of a concern that they may have been a means for the transmission of disease.”

How about a rule that students cannot share ChapStick? The same risk would occur from sharing milk or cookies.

Grace however has attracted one big dog, Pfizer, to her side. The manufacturer of the lip balm insisted “ChapStick has been used safely by millions of consumers for more than one hundred years.” So where are the 100 ChapStick pushing, lawyer-warriors from Pfizer? That would have been one board meeting that I would have attended.

However, one board member is already warning the town of the implications of ChapStick in the knickerbockers of their children:

Source: USA Today and Fox

62 thoughts on “Grace Under Fire: 11-Year-Old Girl Banned From Using ChapStick At School For Her Bleeding Lips”

  1. It’s well known that most crack heads used chapstick earlier in the lives. Why this product is available without a prescription astounds me.

  2. rafflaw:

    “my comment was clear. I do remember one pastor stating he didn’t want animals in church, but I don’t know if he refused any service dogs. If I had, I would have said so above.”

    Thanks for clarifying. So churches are basically like a restaurant, and don’t want animals in church, but you have zero evidence that they ever denied a service animal.

    As an aside, the Monks of New Skete are famous German Shepherd breeders.


    The few times I’ve seen Schutzhund dogs work were a privilege. I’ve seen a couple of trials, and used to house sit for a couple who were working for their first title. The woman did everything with her GSDs and was also training for search and rescue. I recall her telling me that a GSD’s mind was a terrible thing to waste, and her dogs were happiest with a job to do with their people.

  3. Karen SA ….Yes, all of our dogs but one, the current female “Dera” were Schutzhund trained. She was acquired as a companion for “Ari” who was “other dog aggressive” and need to mollify that a bit. “Dera” was picked for her “Omega” disposition, but high resolve to never quit. Dera’ pedigree is solid Schutzhun III (now IPO III) and WPO qualified …. but she just was a pack Omega and not really suitable for Schutzhund training.

    Those who’ve dealt with wolves know an Omega is not really a punk dog, but the court jester…and they can rise in the hierarchy. That is “Dera” …. and it took us 9 days of lock down super max living, keeping them apart, but face to face through barriers in the house and outside with “Ari” muzzled. On the 8th day evening “Ari” exhibited play instigation behavior, equal to hers, and seemed to accept Dera” so on the morning of the 9th day, Judi handled “Ari” and I handled “Dera” in a confined space (so we could intervene if necessary) and let them loose to touch and sniff, no muzzle…they did and we then went outside with them and they played like crazy dogs for over an hour. They did so every day until Ari died suddenly of a ruptured spleen due to undetected cancer. “Dera” did the job she was selected for and kept “Ari” young to his very last day…boisterous play would be an understatement. Today she’s the boss lady, now also other dog aggressive (thank you “Ari”) but loves to play with children.

  4. When I taught @ a Catholic middle school, on St. Francis of Assisi Day kids were allowed to bring ANY pet to school. We then went to Mass and the priest blessed all the pets. I know of other parishes w/ the same tradition. It’s a great tradition. I often wonder about the world where raff resides? Must be an alternative universe.

  5. On a second partial pass through the prior comments, a thought came to me.

    If a church does not allow animals into the church, it cannot allow humans into the church, for the simple, factual reason, that no human is not an animal, and therefore also, for the simple factual reason that all humans are animals.

    Socialization trauma (aka, e.g., the terrible twos, or the infant-child transition) appears capable of instilling in human children viciously abusive beliefs, so vicious and neurologically traumatically shattering that the beliefs may be impossible to consciously remember and immensely more unconsciously impossible to forget.

    Life events that are absolutely impossible to consciously remember and immensely more impossible to unconsciously forget may be what generates, at least in some people, an unconscious mind which actually makes decisions and a conscious mind that is generally ruled, and often overruled, by the unconscious mind.

    Three books published in the past decade seem to me to address significant aspects of the effects of people being unconsciously ruled and/or unconsciously overruled, with respect to their overt and/or conscious conduct.

    Those books are:

    Conscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet (2010) by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Lynn Nadel
    Mind Time: The Temporal Factor in Consciousness (Perspectives in Cognitive Neuroscience) (2005) by Benjamin Libet
    Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (2004) by Timothy D. Wilson

    Descriptions of those books and reviews of them may be found, for example on amazon(dot)com.

    If the solution to an important problem has not yet actually been found, it may be wise to diligently and resolutely search for it.

  6. In the more than 65 years since I began studying the phenomenon of life (biology?) at college level and more, I have come to a form of understanding of aspects of the nature of the nature of life.

    My dad, a college philosophy major, had, so I gather, a biology minor before he went to another school for his professional degree. My mom studied nursing before studying education during her college and graduate school days. Starting in third grade, soon after my family moved from Eureka, California, to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, I set out on my own initiative to learn all I could about biology, starting with the books in my parents’ library.

    I have poured more than 65 years of my life into an unrelenting effort to unriddle what I have understood, since well before I started kindergarten, to be the most significantly profound aspect of the human condition that I have ever come to recognize. That aspect is the cause, and the result, of human destructive beliefs and the destructive covert and overt conduct that human destructive beliefs engender, promote, and treat as social dogma through the coercive and terrifying indoctrination of deception and the dishonesty that causes, promotes, and sustains deception and dishonesty.

    Deception and dishonesty form a vicious cycle of self-hatreds projected onto others, internalized by others and those others project their self-hatreds onto yet others, having done so generation after generation until almost nobody can recognize deception through the viciously addictive dishonesty that is the source and the result of deception compounded for far more than tens upon tens of thousands of years of the lived experience of human animals.

    Deception and dishonesty, in the form of sociocultural norm mandates masquerading as a social contract that is held (by those whose deception-based dishonesty assigns them the insanely and psychotically tragic role of being the faux-protectors of society) to be as though necessary for the survival of the species of human animals; yet which is actually the greatest threat yet to surface to said survival.

    At the core of the dastardly addictive nature of deception as a social-contract-mandated sociocultural norm is the little enigma of deception being operationally an exercise of viciously self-referential cycles of escalating-reciprocal retaliatory dishonesty and deception masquerading as live-saving necessities; whereas, the directly observable fact I(e.g., in the content of this Turley blog thread) is that escalating reciprocal retaliation is the essence of a profoundly and destructive, eventually annihilating, social process.

    To the best of my recall, I have never found anything except as I “looked” where it actually was, and recognized it for and as what it actually was.

    Born in the first half of 1939 C.E., I became aware of World War II well before I learned to talk in English language sentences of two or more words; before I was twelve months of age.I was born into a human animal society that was as though at war to the death with itself. Making lip balm to help heal chapped lips a crime is a crime against the human animal species.

    What greater proof is possible, that all humans are animals, than the abuse, as described on this Turley blog thread, of Grace Karaffa?

    What greater proof is necessary, that all humans are animals, than the assignment of alleged fault and/or blame on individual people instead of truthfully recognizing that our present, in the U.S.A., adversarial system of law and jurisprudence is an example of a long-standing effort to find the boundaries of the laws of nature by developing a system of law that attempts to violate the laws of nature?

    I have been pondering the notion of having some “bumper stickers” printed. The text, as I imagine it now, might be:

    People Do Not Violate Adversarial Law –
    Adversarial Law Violates People.

    The value of adversarial law put to use with the intent of making the human animal species safer is learning that adversarial law is adversarial to actual human safety.

    The story, here told, about Grace Karaffa, is proof-positive?

    I find that it is impossible to keep a social mechanism that is relentlessly destructive without generating relentless destruction.

  7. Karen,
    my comment was clear. I do remember one pastor stating he didn’t want animals in church, but I don’t know if he refused any service dogs. If I had, I would have said so above. That particular parish did not do a animal blessing on the feast of St. Francis. Thanks Paul, but I was aware of the Feast of St. Francis. The good Benedictine Sisters wouldn’t let us forget any of the major feast days.

  8. rafflaw:

    “That is a beautiful dog. In all of the Catholic churches that I have attended, I have never seen one allow any animal in.” Do you mean that you have seen the Church refuse entry to a service animal, or you just have never seen an animal in church?

    And I firmly believe that raising children with pets is good for their character.

  9. Zero tolerance idiocy has one good result: Kids learn how stupid some people in authority are, and grow up with less respect for authority generally.

  10. We dogs have our 8th Day Dog Adventist Service out on the end of the marina at dusk just when the sun goes down. Six to twenty dogs show up and we stare out at the sunset. When it goes down we all take a whiz on the side of the marina building and walk home. There was no prayer, barking or woofing. We don’t pass the plate. We pass some gas but it does not have anything to do with the service.

  11. Raff,

    Feb 2nd, aka known as ground hogs day, aka imbolic day which the Catholics adapted to Candlemas day which is about 40 days after the aledge birth of Jesus… Can’t have those pagans celebrating those heathen rituals….

    1. Imbolic Day is Feb 1 and Candlemas is February 2 for the historically challenged. Candlemas celebrates Jesus introduction at the Jewish Temple. Has nothing to do with his bday, which is probably in the spring sometime.

Comments are closed.