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


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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]