I've had quite a few run-ins with a parent this school year. First it was about being out of compliance with vaccinations...mom came into my office screaming and cursing (with students in the office!) when all she ended up doing was signing an exemption and storming out of my office. Then a couple of weeks later, her daughter was found to have live lice and nits. School policy states that we have to send them home. On the phone the mom was yelling about how there's no way her daughter has lice and how I have no idea what I'm doing, but finally came to pick her daughter up. Policy states I have to do a classroom check and none of the other students had lice, however I sent letters asking parents to continue checking at home, just in case. For a few days after I continued to check the girl's hair, but the girl never got completely rid of it. I continued to call mom to check in on if she needed any help, extra tips, etc, but only ended up being yelled at. At one point there were only a few nits and the girl said her mom was combing throught every night, so I documented that, and refrained from having to contact mom. I became more relaxed about calling her in to check; the nits were almost gone.
Well last week, a month after only having a few nits, she came into my office itching her head. She had tons of nits and live lice. I called mom who demanded that I check one of her firends because she "knows it came from there, there's no way it came from my house".The girl was in her daughter's classroom so I explained that I would do a classroom check. She continued to yell and curse and essentially blamed me for the reinfestation. I attempted to (through all the yelling) explain that this most likely was not a reinfestation, that all it takes is one louse to be left behind and lay eggs. After our "conversation" I did the classroom check, which was clear, and again sent home the letters.
Later that day I get a call from theDepartment of Health Services concerned that a parent feels that I'm not adequetly taking care of the lice problem. SERIOUSLY?! I explained that as he should know, I can only control what happens at school, and since it is under control here, the issue is residing in the home. I thought that was the end of it, but as I was on the phone with DHS, in storms the mom demanding to talk to the principal. She yelled, pushed all blame on me, and demanded that I leave my office and go buy the treatment for the girl.
So now I'm $15 out to this nasty parent and it's a week later. The girl's teacher brings in a 2 page letter from the mom with rude remarks towards the teacher because her daughter has lice again (mom needs to get it's not happening AGAIN, it's the same infestation). The teacher explains she feels harrassed, and I told her to send the child in so that I could check her hair and that I would call mom. The kiddo had a few nits, no live lice on her, so I called the mom to address the lice issue. Her first words were, "I'm gonna start yelling!", and she did. She ended up coming in to talk with the principal, refused to speak with me anymore, and stormed out.
That was yesterday. Today, the mom contacted the principal stating they saw a "professional" last night and the girl's hair was clear, and that I was targeting the family. The girl was sent in for a hair check (which was clear) but told me the hair stylist, yes that's the professional, had found a few nits but removed them all. I love how the child has a different story!! I documented this, and luckily the principal was in the room so she signed off on that documentation! Well hoping all problems has subsided, we just got word that a board member has been contacted and that the thoughts of her filing a lawsuit are in the air. Now the principal and I are writing reports to go to the superintendant and school board!!
How do you handle parents like that?? I'm baffled that a parent would go this far about LICE and be as rude as she has been. How embarrassing this must be for the child!
How were you out $15? Did you actually buy treatment for them? And what on earth is she calling the state of you and threatening law suits for? You've done nothing wrong from your description.
My first piece of advice is under no circumstance should you deal with this parent by yourself. If you have to call home, clear you r office, get someone (the principal preferably) and explain to the mom that you have her on speaker phone and that so and so is there.This parents actions are inappropriate and surely are causing you unnecessary stress. I've been there - that awful feeling of agita after getting your butt handed to you by a parent despite the fact that you are right. If the parent comes to your office, call the front office and tell them that you need the principal there asap.
My second piece of advice - don't let people like this take up occupancy in your head. They will bring you down, they will fill you with doubt and they will stress you out. Let them live in their moment only and move on.
The thing that stinks is that in any other setting other than public education, a parent braying on like a ****** like that would be shown the door and told never to return - but in public education we're expected to take things like this on the chin.
Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Oct 20, '12
: Reason: ToS-profanity
Jolie is exactly right.
And this issue comes up so often we should make a stickie with links. Here are parts of some of the many threads here about this issue:
"Pediculosis is considered a nuisance disease as well as an infestation. It is not an emergency! Siblings of children with headlice should have a head check. Classroom head checks need only be done if there are more than two known cases in the class. An information letter should be sent home if there are more than 5 or 6 cases in a school at a given time. This information can also be sent in the school newsletter."
NASN (National Association of School Nurses) Statement:
A free webinar:
Why were my children sent home from school and why do they have a 'no nits' policy?
The no-nits policies, variously drafted and adopted by school administrations, are supposedly designed to reduce the transmission of lice by excluding infested children from school. Whereas these policies may be meritorious in principle, they are virtually always counterproductive when applied. School nurses are generally amongst the most capable to spot signs of infestation, but often lack the expertise, time and equipment to distinguish active from inactive infestations. School personnel and parent volunteers often conduct mass-screenings in misguided and failed attempts to identify infested children and ensure their treatment. Concerned parents, nurses and school administrators may find it valuable to cooperate by helping to draft rational policies. The discovery of lice or their eggs on the hair should not cause the child to be sent home or isolated. Furthermore, treatment is not indicated if the infestation is not active.. . . . . . . . . . .
Last edit by Spidey's mom on Oct 21, '12