Quote from BeagleBabe
Jolie: how can you state that children with lice shouldn't be sent home? Don't you think they will spread lice in the classroom through hugging, sharing hairbrushes, lice getting on the carpet and crawling on other students, etc?
We need to base our policies, procedures and practices on public health principles that are supported by current research and scientific knowledge. Research shows that lice are not readily transmissible by normal student to student contact in the typical classroom setting. Head lice do not fly or jump from person to peson. They are transmitted by head to head contact, and the sharing of clothing, linens, and personal care items, which can be controlled and prevented by education of staff, students and parents, and by monitoring for, and correcting such behavior.
In the rare circumstance that a case of head lice is transmitted in school, there are no negative health implications. Inconvenience? Yes. Annoyance? Yes. Ick factor? Yes. Health problems? No. Inconvenience, annoyance and ickiness are not reasons to exclude a student from school, interfering with his/her education and the parents' ability to attend work and earn a living.
As the identified health professionals and public health experts in our schools, it is time to quit reinforcing out-dated, ineffective and harmful policies. It is our job to advocate for those unable to do so for themselves. A child being excluded from school (and parents forced to leave work) unnecessarily make a darn good example of those who need our advocacy. We mock our own professionalism when we do otherwise. Would you have respect for a teacher who let her laptop sit idle while she wrote lessons on a slate? Or punished students with a dunce cap in the corner? If not, then you should likewise update your practice to the 21st century.