When I was in elementary school, I got lice. I don’t remember how I got it (or more accurately, who I got it from) or how long I had it, but I wasn’t allowed to attend school until the lice were gone.
My mom spent hours washing my hair with special shampoo and combing through every strand of hair with a small metal comb. I remember vividly laying on her lap in the backyard, so she could painstakingly comb, while I painstakingly cried. I hated it and I’m sure my mom hated it, too.
Once my mom thought she had gotten rid of the lice, she took me back to school. Before I could return to school, I had to be checked by the school nurse. The nurse carefully searched through my head and discovered more lice and I was sent home, crying. My mother decided it would be easier and less painful to cut my hair short, rather than washing and combing through my long hair again. After my haircut and more rounds of shampoo and combing, I was finally cleared to go back to school.
Fortunately, my children have never had lice. When my family lived in a smaller Idaho school district, I would frequently receive notifications informing parents that someone at the school had lice. The notification listed treatment suggestions and information about how to check for lice.
I have not received any similar notifications since moving into the West Ada School District. I thought I hadn’t received any head lice notifications because my children had not been exposed to lice at the school. Nope.
There is no policy in the West Ada School District prohibiting kids from attending school with lice, or informing parents about kids at the school being infected with lice. I checked the district website and it says …
“HEAD LICE are tiny insects that live on the human body, typically found in the hair. They spread by head to head contact or sharing clothing or personal items like hats/brushes. Student may attend school, treatment with a lice shampoo and removal of all nits is recommended.”
I was shocked to discover this, so I called my child’s elementary school to see if their school policy was different. The nurse just directed me back to the district website for information.
My friend has children in the Boise School District, and she informed me that her school also allows children to attend school with lice.
It seems crazy to allow kids to attend school with head lice. It seems equally crazy that there is no policy to inform parents of the potential for head lice exposure. If my children are exposed to lice at school, I’d like to know as soon as possible. I don’t want my kids to have to endure the same painful memories of head lice I had as a kid.
Do you know your school’s policy on head lice?