Everett schools let kids with head lice stay




Posted on September 21, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

Should school districts allow children with head lice attend to class?

EVERETT, Wash. -  Everett schools are allowing children with head lice to remain in class while they are being treated.

The district says the change in policy is based on thinking that missing class is worse than the risk of spreading the itchy parasites.

Snohomish Health District Dr. Gary Goldbaum says no one gets sick from head lice, and a child is stigmatized by being removed from school.

Goldbaum sent a memo to all 14 Snohomish County School Districts in August, recommending that students not be kept from school because of head lice.

"It's not dangerous," said Goldbaum. "Lice do not carry diseases and it's curable."

The Health District says right now Everett, Marysville, Monroe and Edmonds School districts are reviewing their policies following Goldbaum's recommendation.

The Everett School District says it's been transitioning to this new policy for 6 years, but is now taking further steps to allow students to remain in class even if they have head lice.

"We are educating parents about how to prevent and treat head lice," says District Spokeswoman Mary Waggoner. "There is no black and white. If a child has a severe or reoccurring case, we may ask them to stay home. But we don't want kids to miss out on their education over it."

Still, many feel that allowing students to remain in school with head lice makes no sense.

Louise Taschereau owns a daycare in Everett and checks the children for head lice every day.

"I am furious to think health professionals are saying head lice is 'no big deal'," she says. "It's a nuisance and if a child is scratching themselves all day, that is a distraction to their education."