Why Kids With Lice Should Be Allowed to Stay at School
Just the mention of head lice sends me into a head scratching frenzy. I am actually scratching my head as I write this!
Head lice is such a huge misconception. It doesn’t mean your dirty, it doesn’t only happen to kids and it doesn’t mean you have to such off and shave your head, or burn your house down. Lice does not discriminate.
When I was a kid, there were many a child sent home from school with head lice and yes I was one of them. It was just standard practice. If you had lice, you went home and didn’t return until it was gone – every single little nit. Then you have to be cleared through the school nurse before you were able to officially return to school. If any of the class parents found out that you had lice and were not send home immediately, there was heck to pay for the school. It seems that today, there is one school nurse that says sending kids home with lice, makes no sense. Deborah J. Pontius, RN says “First of all, sending kids home doesn’t actually eliminate the problem. “At any one time, the evidence says between 1 and 10 percent of students in the elementary school ages will have head lice … I can say that at any one time, there will be someone in the school who has head lice,” says Pontius, who is an executive committee member of the National Association of School Nurses. “There’s never not lice.”
It’s argued that having a no nit policy at school is costing parents almost $3,000 in lost wages as there are kids in the United States missing 12–24 million school days annually due to head lice. Schools also lose money in the neighborhood of $280–325 million per year in lost funding. Schools don’t get paid because students aren’t in school. So how do we deal with this? Well first of all, lets make sure it’s actually head lice and not flaking dandruff, sand, glitter, glue or any other kind of art project materials. These are often mistaken for head lice and cause a lot of trouble for parents and teachers when mistaken. Once the school nurse has determined that it is in fact head lice, then the call to the parent should be made.
Should that child be immediately sent home from school? That is the question and I have a feeling it won’t be anytime soon that a decision is going to be made which states that children are allowed to stay in school when they are affected by head lice.
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