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Controversy over Chapstick

Bob Stuart/The News Virginian

An Augusta County fifth grader is using the democratic process to try and get Chapstick allowed back into her elementary school. 

Eleven-year-old Grace Karaffa was playing on the school playground when her lips started bleeding.  She asked her teacher for some Chapstick but the teacher said no.

“Later that day they started to bleed again and I asked for Chapstick again and they said it was against the school policy.  They said it was some sort of medicine and it’s not because it’s just a little stick of vasoline.”

However Molly O’Dell, the Director of the New River Valley Health District, says there’s nothing in Chapstick that could be considered a drug.

When she came home and told her father, Augusta County Supervisor David Karaffa, Grace decided to get signatures on a petition supporting a change in the rules.  Her dad says she ended up getting more than 230 signatures and gave them to the school board during her presentation last week.

“I think it was a real good example to the other kids that were in the audience about what it takes to get something changed.”

The picture of the little girl speaking before the school board has gone viral, with even Grace’s dad surprised at the amount of attention it’s garnered.  But Grace isn’t finished.  The school board told the Karaffas it would be about a month before they’d make a decision.

“She’s planning on writing each of the school board members a letter, thanking them for the ability to come and speak with them and we’ll be sending them a tube of Chapstick each as well.”

What has Grace learned through this? “That people do have different ideas of certain rules and some people think that it needs to be changed and some people think it’s good where it is.”

When asked for a comment, Augusta County School Assistant Superintendent George Earhart said “I don’t think it even has merit.”