Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Attack of the Killer Lice

I have never in my entire life had lice. Not once. My mom confirmed that fact again for me yesterday. I have worked with kids for 18 years and never seen a louse nor nit. Until yesterday.

Most schools have "No Nits" policy. This policy states that a child having lice may not return to school until all signs of lice, eggs or nits on his or her head have been removed. That's all fine and dandy as long as the parent TELLS THE SCHOOL THE CHILD HAS LICE!

About three weeks ago the woman I work for stated that when I wear my hair up in a ponytail, I look severe and unapproachable. It made her uncomfortable. So, even though I have always worn my hair up around children, I started wearing it down. About this time one of my students started scratching her head...a lot. I am new to this school so I didn't know that this family has been struggling on and off with lice for the past year. Last year their children spread it to nine other kids in the school. I had no reason to mention the itchy child because, well, children get itchy.

Until yesterday. This child's older sister was sent home from school. Another student's mom had called in to tell the school she would be keeping her daughter home from school due to lice. This automatically starts a shool wide head check. This was how we found out that my student's older sister not only had lice BUT SHE HAS HAD IT FOR THREE WEEKS! The parents didn't bother to tell the school because they couldn't afford to take the time off from work to keep her home.

Okay, I am stopping my story right here for a moment to insert my opinion. I completely understand where they are coming from. I am (now) an hourly employee and can't afford to take time off. I am even okay with the child being in the classroom. But I am not okay with them not telling us. Had we known, we would have implemented preventative measure in our classroom to help stop the spread of the lice. I myself would have worn my hair up. But the family felt the need to hide this from us and THAT I don't appreciate!

Anywho, you would think the story ends there, but it doesn't. It gets worse. We tried to send our student home yesterday when we found two nits and the father went ballistic. He was furious and swore they had been treating it and that there were no live animals on her head and he couldn't afford to take off work and...and...and. But, he was required to come get her, so he did.

Fast forward to this morning. The dad brings his daughter in, understandably defensive, claims he has checked her hair himself and declared her nit free. While we were doing the head checks on our students that we must now do everyday for a week, I checked our child with lice and found about 25 nits. My lead teacher told me to get a second opinion. Another teacher yanked a piece of hair out of the child's head and put the hair and nit in an envelope to show the parent, assuming the child was going to be picked up. My lead teacher (not wanting to be yelled at again by the father) and the preschool division head spoke and decided since the nit appeared empty, they would allow the child to stay in school. I was fine with that decision since all of our students and myself now had our hair up.

Finally, we had a staff meeting today and the issue of lice came up, of course. My lead teacher didn't mean to, but she essentially made me look like an idiot while trying to cover her ass. She told the whole faculty that she looked in the child's hair and saw nothing, I looked and thought I saw "something" but the division head person looked and didn't see anything so they decided to keep the child in school. Remember the envelope? Anyway, another teacher went to bat and told the truth and I kept my mouth shut. But I was very glad to get home today, even if my head is itchy. And no, I don't have lice...at least...not yet.

But I bet your head is itchy now, too.


Anonymous said...

OMG, ok, we have kids with live in the court ll the time and that everything I have never gotten it (knowk wood). But about 6 months ago, we were having ameeting and during the meeting, the kids mother was picking lice out of her kids head and flicking them on the floor. HELLO!!!

Bubblewench said...

that is awful. I don't even know what to say...

Bubblewench said...

Um, you won the Happy Bunny contest too.