Parents, schools battle changing lice policies

Members of a local family says courtesy notes recommending checking children’s heads because lice was found in the school are causing them too much pain. After receiving so many letters like this parents say the school’s policy isn’t working.

It’s based off of the American Academy of Pediatrics‘ recommendations that schools should abandon no-nit policies. Nits are un-hatched lice eggs. It also recommends no student miss school because of hatched head lice, saying they’re not a health hazard.  

The Kentucky School Board Association says the same thing, but differs in terms of live lice. The bugs carry emotional weight for both parents and teachers.

Amanda Falder says she’s had enough of secluding her daughters from their friends, neighbors, and family. She says it’s hard persuading people to help her, as no one wants to dig out lice from people’s heads. She says in three months she’s treated her children for lice six times. 

Falder says she’s never had such a problem with lice in schools as she has here, adding that “Each time I found a louse on my children I would just pace and walk around holding my head and think ‘plan of action.'”

Falder says combating the lice has cost her hundreds of dollars, but the real cost is her children’s emotional health. Despite the findings from the medical research, Falder says she’s getting progressively worried for their physical health, 

“You’re putting a pesticide on your head, and you’ve done it six times. You’re wondering ‘OK, there are short-term side effects to this, so what are the long-term effects?’ Because it wasn’t intended to be used this many times.”

Falder’s children go to Caldwell County Schools. This year was the first year they’ve tried the new policy allowing children with nits in school, and school officials are equally dismayed at the difficulty in keeping lice out of schools. Superintendent Carrell Boyd says the school walks a line between children taking too much time off and keeping the lice numbers down, 

“We wanted to take a shot at changing the policy to reflect what the medical association recommends to get our students back in the classroom,” Boyd says.

Boyd says the school cares for its students but, while its treating an age-old problem with new information, there are no answers on how to get rid of it for good.

As for how your child can get lice, it can be as easy as your child brushing his head on the back of the chair. We checked with a number of school districts, and they all have varied adoptions of the new lice policies. Some still have the no-tolerance, no-nit policy.

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