Volusia County parents fed up with school's head lice policy

By Loren Korn - Reporter

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Parents are urging the Volusia County School District to change its policy on head lice after ruling in 2011 that kids who have it don't have to be sent home. Parents said not only is head lice expensive to treat, but the situation in school is getting worse.

"My opinion on their policy is that it stinks," said Kathleen Boucher.

Boucher said her 6-year-old daughter kept coming home from school with lice.

"In this year alone, we had to de-lice her hair seven times," Boucher said.

The mother also said the lice spread to her family and furniture, an expense they can't afford.

"We have to choose 'okay, do we buy food this week or do we buy lice treatment this week,'" she said.

Boucher is not the only mother spending hours and money to get rid of lice.

"My daughter ended up with it this year," said Shelley Wilkins. "She got it from her classroom. There were students that were infected and it ended up going through almost the entire classroom."

The district said head lice are considered a nuisance and not a disease. It also follows recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which just updated its guidelines for head lice:

"...a healthy child should not be restricted from attending school because of head lice or nits (eggs). Pediatricians are encouraged to educate schools and communities that no-nit policies are unjust and should be abandoned. Children can finish the school day, be treated, and return to school."

However, parents said they're not buying the new policy or guidelines, just a lot of expensive treatment that they say isn't necessary.

"It would be so easily prevented if the children who were affected would have to be checked and monitored to make sure it's gone before they're let back into the classroom," Wilkins said.

"When I was in school and when we caught lice, you weren't allowed back without a doctor's note, and I think it should be the same again," Boucher said.

Orange County and Flagler County School Districts both have a "no nits" policy, random school checks and a rule that any child with lice is sent home until it is completely treated.

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