Head Lice: Should Kids With Lice Be Allowed in School?

    November 9, 2013
    Erika Watts
    Comments are off for this post.

Some parents are outraged at the news that some schools are relaxing their rules regarding head lice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, head lice infects between 6 million and 12 million kids ages 3 to 11 per year. This number could go up, though, since some schools have decided to no longer send home lice notes and let kids with lice stay in class through the end of the day.

Most of the time, when a teacher discovers a kid has lice, he is sent to the school nurse and the parents are called. The kid stays out of school for a couple of days–or however long it takes to get rid of the lice–and the teacher sends home a note alerting parents to check their child’s hair because of the infestation. Not only does this single out the kid with lice and embarrass them, it also costs them education time.

School districts in several states–including Nevada and Texas–have decided to skip out on lice notes and refrain from sending kids home for a couple of reasons, but mainly to avoid embarrassing the kids infested with lice.

“Lice is icky, but it’s not dangerous,” says Deborah Pontius, the school nurse for the Pershing County School District in Lovelock, Nevada. Pontius also says that kids infested with lice have probably had them for anywhere from 3 weeks to two months, which means he has already spread the lice–all the more reason to avoid embarrassing kids. “It gets out who had lice,” Pontius said, adding that since parents of younger kids should be checking their heads for lice weekly anyway, there is no real need to send home the lice notes.

Lesslie Sanders, a school nurse in Savoy, Texas says that sending kids home for lice is unnecessary. “The kids are always missing too much school and it’s not a health hazard,” Sanders said. “We call the parents, we talk about the remedies, how to fix it, also how to help the kids not get embarrassed. It’s just not a big deal anymore. It’s mostly just a nuisance,” Sanders added.

This new policy does not sit well with a lot of parents. “I’m appalled. I am just so disgusted,” said Theresa Rice, whose 8-year-old daughter has come home from her elementary school in Hamilton County, Tennessee, with lice three times this school year. “It’s just a terrible headache to have to deal with lice,” says Rice.

Parent Cissy Pennelle isn’t a fan of the more relaxed policy, either. “Children bring that home and then it becomes a deal of people being able to afford stuff to take care of it as well as take care of stuff in their home–it is a health hazard,” Pennelle said.

Do you agree with more relaxed rules regarding head lice? Respond below.

For equal parts entertainment and educational value, check out the head lice cartoon below.

[Image via YouTube]
  • Is it just me?

    If schools really cared, they would not single out the child and give the child medicinal products to get rid of the lice. Lice is not a big deal. It is harmless and easily treated. Don’t tell me schools and communities can’t afford it either. Schools can afford to build very expensive football stadiums but kids still go to school in trailers. It is all about priorities.

    Then again, I no longer fell sorry for America because America’s priorities are wrong. We use our tax money to fight useless wars but resort to funding our children’s education through lotteries. Gambling addiction is out of control in this country and it is creating a lot of poor people — but yet, we state sponsor it. It also sends a clear message as to how much we value our kids. War is primary. Our children are not even secondary — they are way down the list.

    Here is the elephant in the room as far the US is concerned. Since 9/11, all of the money we put into “security” and wars has crippled this nation. Furthermore, literally nothing has changed. We are not safer — in fact, we are less safe now. When your allies begin to turn on you, well that is a clear sign that you are much less safe. We literally just made a few select people that are connected to “security” programs very wealthy. Meanwhile, our country has suffered and our children have suffered. Guess what? The suffering will not end any time soon. This is just the beginning.

    America, make your children a priority. When children are sick, find ways to cure them. Seek peace so they don’t die in useless wars. Invest in your economy, so they can grow, work, and have families of their own. That is the way you keep a nation strong. Not by NSA programs, stretching your military thin, and bombing other people’s children throughout the world.

  • Pam

    This nurse is absurd. Spreading lice over “feelings” is irresponsible. She should look for a new job. She obviously isn’t concerned with health. Having an infestation of a parasite on your head is traumatic and disruptive to all those unnecessarily exposed and infected by letting them come in with it.

  • Harmless

    Head lice is pretty much harmless. Here is a link to some facts on it and some myths as well. People overreact too much.


  • Rediculess

    I get that kids are missing out on education but really who’s falt is that? If the kid is sent home and it continues the entire school year than the parents should be held accountable. It is not fair for me or my child to send him/her to school with kids who’s parents don’t care about getting rid of the bugs. If they did they would work hard to eliminate the problem daily untill the bugs and nits are gone. I have seen kids who have lice and have scabs on their head from scratching so much. To me this is naglect and when did it start to be ok to live with bugs crawling an kids. I can say my child will not live with bugs crawling on them no matter the cost.