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Mom scratches her head over new lice policies

Head lice.

Head lice. Credit: iStock

If a school nurse called to say my son had lice, I’d want him home immediately so that I could begin treatment, however unpleasant it be. Wouldn’t every parent want that?

Whether they would or would not doesn’t seem to matter — some schools are relaxing lice policies, no doubt spurred on by guideline and position changes at the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses that encourage allowing infected children in the classroom. Some schools are now not even sending home notes informing parents that lice has been detected in their child's classroom.

Part of the concern behind the push is that children are being forced to miss school by restrictive lice policies. There’s also a privacy issue for those children who end up being identified as the ones who have it.

Health officials and medical experts say that lice are not only harmless but don’t spread disease. All that may be true, but it doesn’t matter to this parent. If a child in my son’s classroom has lice, it should be treated until it’s gone — and no one else should have to be needlessly exposed.

There have been many instances over the years where children in my son’s class have had lice, and on the occasions when they did I told my son to keep a healthy distance from them until the episode passed. So far he’s never had lice, and for me that’s my only concern.

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