To think this is an over reaction to lice and refuse permission?

(88 Posts)
Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 21:32:34

We've lived in the us since sept (so fairly new) and my dds (kindegarten and 3rd grade) go to school here. It turns out that there are head lice going around. We were told there was going to be a check by the school nurse. I was a bit hmm as we'd never had that in England with the dds and it reminded me of my own school days many moons ago but, ok...

Anyway, we were having a friend of dd1 and her family over for dinner on Friday and the mum calls up saying she will have to cancel as her dd was sent home with lice, as were 3 other kids in dd1s class! I was totally shocked at the idea of anyone canceling because of lice and told her it was fine, if dd1 was going to be infected, it'd have happened by now! They just need to avoid head contact and tie their hair back. So they came over (super apologetic) and it turns out that their dd was immediately isolated after the check (in tears!) and all the chikdren with nits/lice had to be picked up immediately. I was very shock.

And then it got worse. The other mum said that the only reason they came over was because their dd had been treated by this commercial company that does treatments and they'd paid $300 for the privilege. And then it turns out that it is this very same company which does the checks at the school!!

So wiu to have sent an email to the school telling them that they do not have permission to check my dds for lice? I told them I would be checking at home but that I'm not happy for a commercial company with a clear conflict of interest to do it and neither am I happy with the response (which i think is totally ott)? Being relatively new I don't want to be a trouble maker but this just seems an over reaction and upsetting for children.

mrsbunnylove Sun 03-Feb-13 21:36:37

i don't know the system in america but your point of view seems correct to me. deal with lice by frequent combing with a fine toothed comb - morning and evening if you want to be absolutely sure.

ripsishere Sun 03-Feb-13 21:36:37

I suppose it depends on school policy whether you'll be able to have your DC excluded from the checks.
When my DD was at school in Bangkok, the nurse would go round the classrooms twice a week. Anyone found with crawlers would be stood in the middle of the room so the teacher could identify them. And the children could identity their peers.
That seemed rather cruel to me.

WorraLiberty Sun 03-Feb-13 21:36:46

Yeah but if they were sent straight home, the parents would check that actually did have lice and then they have the choice of whether to treat them, or use the commercial company's treatment.

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 21:38:33

Sure, worra, they don't have to! But this company won't make much money if they spend a day checking a school and don't find any cases. Presumably they don't do the checks out of charity!

HollyBerryBush Sun 03-Feb-13 21:39:45

Some of us are old enough to remember Nitty Norah.

And the school dentist, and the school optician, and the school hearing doctor and the school optician.

When in Rome etc

I wouldn't have stopped the company checking at school, but if they then said my DCs had lice I would treat them myself and not pay someone else to do it for me. I've come across this on forums before, the US seems <sweeping generalisation> to go beserk at the very word lice, and they go to enormous lengths to eradicate them, they seal all soft furnishings, and soft toys away for a fortnight, boil/hot wash everything in sight, disinfect everything, and go what to us looks completely overboard.
I think it's more of a cultural thing almost, we just don't view lice the same here as they do there. We sort of take them for granted almost these days, and accept them as a part of schooldays, and just can't summon the energy to get all scandalised and irate, but in the US, well, they do confused

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 21:41:59

But the American Academy of Pediatrics says these checks are no better than parental checks and that children should NOT miss school time. So I think that, evidence wise, they haven't got much to go on.

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 21:43:36

Yes, pombears, this other mum was very surprised that we'd welcome her lice infested dd into our house!! Probably thinks we're really rank grin...weird Brits!

germyrabbit Sun 03-Feb-13 21:45:28

three hundred dollars? that's crazy and sounds like a scam, surprised the school sanctioned such a company!

ya def not bu

WorraLiberty Sun 03-Feb-13 21:45:34

Sure, worra, they don't have to! But this company won't make much money if they spend a day checking a school and don't find any cases. Presumably they don't do the checks out of charity!

But it doesn't matter does it? Because the parents will be able to see for themselves whether they have lice or why/how could they lie? confused

If they keep sending kids home who don't have them, they're going to make themselves look very silly.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 03-Feb-13 21:45:42

If they check your dd and she has lice, you don't have to pay for their service.

Tbh, I wouldn't refuse the check because other parents might think your dd does have them and that you are being difficult, which could make things difficult for your dd socially if the other parents are that way inclined.

If you are going to check regularly and treat at home, and not send her in if she has them if that's the schools policy, then your dd won't end up upset at school because she won't be in school with nits.

I wish they would bring back nit checks to schools in this country and ensure children were treated before they came back, it would save a lot of problems!

RattyRoland Sun 03-Feb-13 21:46:58

Yabu. I agree with school lice checks, not all parents can be relied on to check their dcs...

<<sings Star-spangled Banner>>

They're nuts, those Yanks. Good ol' free market economy at work.
I hope the kids had a nice time at yours and that they enjoyed being made wlcome rather than being dealt with like they were carrying the Black Death!

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 21:48:54

I'm not so sure about the parents checking. They can be hard to spot and the level of hysteria here about head lice is soooo high. I reckon they could easily get away with 'diagnosing' a fair few who don't have.

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 21:50:32

I wouldn't mind a live check per se if it were done
a) by school nurse
b) parents informed confidentislly but kids kept in school (as per guidelines)

I don't think a school nurse type person checking is a bad idea, it is a commercial company being involved AND turning a profit that just stinks IMO.

300 dollars!!

How much FullMarks would that buy you reckon?

Nanny0gg Sun 03-Feb-13 21:51:23

Our system where some parents never check or treat their children works just fine...

x-post smile

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 21:51:45

Kids had a great time and parents needed a few stiff drinks after what was for them a very traumatic afternoon!

Pixel Sun 03-Feb-13 21:52:56

$300 shock.
I'm surprised any of the parents agree to paying that.

Dd only had them a couple of times but the £5 Boots own brand stuff and some combing did the trick.

<wanders off muttering "$300" and shaking head>

meditrina Sun 03-Feb-13 21:53:06

It seems the company is playing it straight - the child they said had lice did have them, they didn't 'find' them on uninfested children (like your DD) , and presumably there's no obligation to use the company to treat them.

I agree with PP who said that attempting to opt out of the checks could be reputation wrecking. And if the school has a policy of sending home children when lice are seen, there's not much you can do about it as a lone voice. But perhaps you could see if other parents agree with you, and if they do, perhaps presenting them with a popular mood for policy change might be a way ahead.

WorraLiberty Sun 03-Feb-13 21:56:16

I'm not so sure about the parents checking. They can be hard to spot and the level of hysteria here about head lice is soooo high. I reckon they could easily get away with 'diagnosing' a fair few who don't have.

Then that's the parents fault isn't it?

If your child gets sent home with head lice and you're too hysterical to check properly, any misdiagnoses is down to them.

I don't really see a problem here. I know you clearly don't trust this company but if you check your own DC regularly, you don't have to trust them.

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:00:32

It's not that simple worra. It's not the treatment part I'm worried about as I wouldn't spend $300 anyway.

It's the fact that my dd could be sent home from school unnecessarily. I dont want her missing school, i dont want her embarrassed (as head lice here are seen with something approaching horror). I think there's a clear conflict of interest for this company who profit directly from diagnoses of head lice.

Pixel Sun 03-Feb-13 22:00:48

My dd is nearly 17 now. I feel quite nostalgic for nit combing actually, now I know I'm unlikely to have to do it again. Very satisfying when you get the little beggars.
I can't imagine getting hysterical about it hmm.

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:04:04


I'm sure that there are many children whom they correctly diagnose, either way. But knowing that there's potentially $300 in your pocket for a couple of hours work, and you see something that hmmm, maybe a nit, maybe a louse, you're not sure, which way do you think they'll be inclined to turn? That's a conflict of interest.

nipersvest Sun 03-Feb-13 22:06:28

there's a scene in the movie 'i don't know how she does it', with sjp, where her daughter is sent home from school with lice and they all go to this place for treatment!

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:09:49

It's not the company our school used but i see that they do screenings as well. Ah well, not enough you pay through the nose for health insurance, now the life companies have us over a barrel. <reminisces longingly for normality in england>

MrsMeeple Sun 03-Feb-13 22:13:25

If nits are seen with such horror, how will it be for your DD, having to stay in school all day, all the other kids thinking she's "infected", and blamed for any more kids who catch them any time in the coming months...

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:15:47

But that's the point mrsmeepie, it should be confidential!!! Other kids should not know who has nits/lice. Precisely one of the reasons why I don't want the school checking.

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:17:07

When I asked dd1, she knew exactly who the 4 children were and that they were all crying and upset! She went to calm them down because she'd had lice a couple of years ago and told them it was ok (surprised the school let her do that without a hazmat suit!)

germyrabbit Sun 03-Feb-13 22:19:04

lol at that website but i can't see any prices on there - it takes literally minutes to get lice out of your child's hair you don't need any chemical at all, just need to know what you are doing. shocked that companies exist just to provide this service, vv lazy!

WorraLiberty Sun 03-Feb-13 22:19:07

How many misdiagnosis have there been so far?

HildaOgden Sun 03-Feb-13 22:21:15

This thread made me itchy grin

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:22:18

I don't know worra! They don't provide that information [ hmm].

The conflict of interest is there whether it has led to misdiagnoses or not. When I was a civil servant, I had to declare conflicts of interest and not handle cases where there were ones, why is this any different? The conflict of interest is clear to me.

I am a GP and see kids head lice on occasion. Some parents are disproportionately horrified IME. To the point were I feel sorry for the poor child in the room and make the point of talking about how easy I found treating the wee buggers when DS2 had them to try and make them feel less like a leper.... I also like pointing out that headlice seem to prefer clean hair - no idea whether that is true, but sounds nice.

Do people really think we live in a world without creepy crawlies?

WorraLiberty Sun 03-Feb-13 22:23:18

What's the name of the company?

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:23:26

I dont think it's laziness germy, but terror! These companies are playing on parents' fears.

seeker Sun 03-Feb-13 22:25:04

I love nit combing- I'll do anyone's children for £50 a go.

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:25:10

I'd rather not say worra, but very along the lines of the company that was linked to upthread. Looks like its a whole industry!

Ive heard through a US colleagues wife that they have to keep the kids off school until they're gone as well! Could be 2 weeks off for nits

We're in Canada, they have parent volunteers go in once a week to check the class and a note sent home if they find something. We got a note, hmmmm maybe we saw something but don't treat as it could have been lint... We send DC to school with hair sprayed with lavender oil every day. He has had it on e since sept but had them far more frequently at preschool when we didn't spray him

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:26:39

You should move here seeker, you could get $100 (and according to dd's friends parents, that is a bargain!).

Pacific, the dad of dd1's friend is a doctor yet he was just as hysterical as the mum! Looks like medical training is of no help here!!

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:27:01

That's $100 per hour btw....

I used to live in the States (as a child) and have been a frequent visitor since. I love many aspect of the USofA and many, many people, but as a nation they are just nuts <<considered opinion, not at all a gross generalisation>> wink

I am not surprised at the dr dad not being any calmer - lice spread diseased don't'cha know not.

McNewPants2013 Sun 03-Feb-13 22:31:33

I ashamed to admit this but I don't how to do a proper check on DD hair, I check her hair but don't know what I am locking for.

She has bright blonde hair so please reassure me that I would have seen something.

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:32:54

You're kind of lulled into a false sense of security that they're the same as you as they speak English of sorts but then things like this hit you and you realize quite how different they are!

Pixel Sun 03-Feb-13 22:34:53

Seeker. I'll go into business with you grin. We'll be rich! and shunned like lepers

NotMoreFootball Sun 03-Feb-13 22:35:37

I'm in the US and my DS is in Elementry school, he and all his classmates are given regular nit checks by the nurse and anyone found to have any are also sent home immediately (or kept in isolation until home time).
There was an 'outbreak' a few weeks ago and we had to send bin liners in with the kids everyday, every child would have to put their backpack inside the bin bag during school hours so they didn't contaminate the backpack next to it!
All their coats were hung up on their pegs inside individual suitbags, again so they didn't touch their neighbors coats and have lice leaping fom jacket to jacket along the corridor! This went on for a week till the outbreak was declared officially over.

seeker Sun 03-Feb-13 22:38:48

Pixel- but secretly we'll be the most popular people in our communities, arriving in our unmarked vans with our anonymous bags of hedrin, nitty gritty combs, DVDs and chocolate buttons!

Seriously- do you think it would work?

tiggytape Sun 03-Feb-13 22:41:01

NotMoreFootball - that is so funny - individual bin bags to reduce contamination! Those poor kids will be terrified of catching them.
I know they're not nice and a pain to treat but why such fear about catching them - they aren't actually harmful (or are they?)

Pixel Sun 03-Feb-13 22:42:24

Something vaguely interesting and slightly relevant to this thread...
Ds goes to a special school, he's nearly 13 and has been in a class of autistic children for most of that time since he was 4. He has never had headlice. I always assumed it was because the children don't play together in the same way as NT children and rarely put their heads closely together, therefore the lice can't travel between them. I'd have thought meant they wouldn't be able to jump from coat to coat on separate pegs either, but maybe they can?

McNewPants2013 Sun 03-Feb-13 22:44:23

You may be onto something there, I would ask MN to delete your replys and take it to dragons den.

I am being serious, because people pay for cleaners and car washes. Parents will pay for this service

Pixel Sun 03-Feb-13 22:45:32

Seeker - it would work I know it! But we'd have to go and live in America...

Is Canada as hysterical? I wouldn't mind that. <reveals long-held crush on Benton Frazer out of Due South and consequent weakness for a mountie on a horse>.

NonnoMum Sun 03-Feb-13 22:46:04

Having spent many an hour combing my DD's hair, I'd lice like to add to the mix that combing along does NOT eliminate all the little critters.

Even the fine tooth comb only gets out the great big established buggers, but the tiny little 2 ml long newly-hatched buggers don't get collected in the comb.

They have to be pulled out down the hairshaft which is pretty inaccurate work.

Think I'd pay the $300.

Bastard lice.

NonnoMum Sun 03-Feb-13 22:46:56

oooh - interesting Pixel

meditrina Sun 03-Feb-13 22:47:47

Nit threads always make me itch!

It's up to the parents whether they use the company to delouse. And it's up to parents to check whether their child actually has nits - and complain if it's wrong. But any nit checker might get it wrong. The issue is the school policy of sending home immediately on discovery, and I have no idea if that's standard in US. If it's not, and you can demonstrate parental consensus against the policy, you have a good platform to press for change.

NonnoMum Sun 03-Feb-13 22:48:32

btw had a friend who went to live in the states for 6 months whilst her DH was on some sort of 6 month contract.

She wasn't allowed to join the toddler groups because her DC wasn't inoculated against some random disease. bubonic plague or something. She found it pretty unfriendly.

NonnoMum Sun 03-Feb-13 22:49:12

Ignore the first line of my last post.

Kungfutea Sun 03-Feb-13 22:53:32


We've been asked to send in bin bags as well....

McNewPants2013 Sun 03-Feb-13 22:55:43

It seems nit removal companies are available in the uk seeker

May09Bump Sun 03-Feb-13 22:55:49

Sounds like a similar policy to our school in NYC - and yes parents did use these private companies, which were obviously alien to me.

Totally hear you when you say same language, different culture.

NotMoreFootball Sun 03-Feb-13 22:56:23

Must be standard practice here, I've been here a year and so far we have survived 3 'mass outbreaks' unscathed so maybe their practices do work after all!

mrsjay Sun 03-Feb-13 23:02:00

have you checked the area you live policy on headlice, I once spoke to an american woman and the state she lives schools can be shut down because of headlice and children are not allowed back until they are clear of lice, check the public health policy, before you go wading in,

mrsjay Sun 03-Feb-13 23:03:52

sorry but ARF at the louse buster you could get the dyson out and do it yourself grin lice cleaning companies I really have seen it all now grin

mrsjay Sun 03-Feb-13 23:06:24

years ago my dd s had them from christmas till end of term in june I combed and combed and fecking combed and treated I would have paid for the lice hoover I was desperate and the DDs were miserable,

NotMoreFootball Sun 03-Feb-13 23:08:16

I've just checked the policy for the County where my DS goes to school and it states children must leave school immediately if they are found to have Lice, they will be granted 2 days authorized absence to have treatment then must be escorted back to school by a parent and checked by the Headteacher before they will be allowed back in the classroom!

Pixel Sun 03-Feb-13 23:12:48

Mrs Jay, just looked at that link and sniggered a lot at 'lice assassins'.

Also noticed that once they've hoovered your child's head and 'dehydrated' the lice hmm, you have to do the rest of the work yourself, with a kit bought from them of course.
After the appointment you then need to comb out all the dehydrated nits (the eggs) and over the following week to 10 days comb out that potential 5% that comes through. The Hairforce Home Assassination Kit (available at The Lounge) will enable you to do this confidently and effectively

But, BUT, There is one of those places in the town where I live and I could do with another job! I wonder if I could keep a straight face long enough to get through an interview? especially considering the 'uniform'

Bue Sun 03-Feb-13 23:14:23

I suspect my parents would have gratefully forked over a fortune to a nit removal company in the 80s. My sister had it three times in as many years, and being in Canada, we did the whole bagging things up / boiling thing / eradicating every last one. (In fact I didn't know that wasn't the done thing here!)

I don't remember anyone ever being horrified by nits though. I used to get very nervous when we had checks, but outbreaks were not a rare occurence. In fact the first time my sister had them she got to go to the school office while waiting for our parents to collect her, where the headmistress spent two hours corn rowing her hair. She felt like the celebrity of the school!

mrsjay Sun 03-Feb-13 23:27:04

Mrs Jay, just looked at that link and sniggered a lot at 'lice assassins'.

I could be a lice assasin would I get a costume like a ninja grin

mrsjay Sun 03-Feb-13 23:28:09

After the appointment you then need to comb out all the dehydrated nits (the eggs) and over the following week to 10 days comb out that potential 5% that comes through. The Hairforce Home Assassination Kit (available at The Lounge) will enable you to do this confidently and effectively

sojust nit combs then confused I could do it with my hoover and bug buster set myself up.

Artemis206 Mon 04-Feb-13 00:17:36

Does anyone else have an itchy head whilst reading this?

StuntGirl Mon 04-Feb-13 01:01:48

I think you have to accept it as part of the cultural differences in America OP. You could try going to the school with the info you posted and request your daughter isn't sent home, but I suspect they'll say something like it's school policy.

As an aside, I never had lice as a child and I don't remember a single other person having them either. Is the frequency children get them these days a new thing or was I just unusually lucky in avoiding them?

LineRunner Mon 04-Feb-13 01:10:47

seeker and Pixel I'm in if you'll have me. I nit comb my cat and we both love it. (Well, I flea comb her obv.) I'm sick of pumping her full of chemicals that don't work and a twice daily comb is the business.

StuntGirl, No, I never had lice as a kid either.

Pixel Mon 04-Feb-13 01:11:44

I never had them either and don't remember knowing anyone else who did, but I do remember Nitty Norah the flea explorer coming to the school so I guess they must have been around.

Pixel Mon 04-Feb-13 01:13:48

Oh I love de-fleaing cats. Mine is a big disappointment as he won't stand for it and gets very vicious if I try, so I'm forced to use Advocate on him.

80sMum Mon 04-Feb-13 01:16:19

What happens in the US usually finds its way over here eventually. Give it 10 years or so ........

LineRunner Mon 04-Feb-13 01:20:17

I've always yearned for a little business with a funky van I could drive around to do stuff I liked for money with my mates.

LIke being a plumber, but better.

seeker Mon 04-Feb-13 06:20:39

It doesn't say anywhere on that website how much it costs.......but they do look like quite expensive post codes they operate in!

fuzzypicklehead Mon 04-Feb-13 07:14:33

Grew up in the US, and indeed this is the norm. I have 5 siblings and if the nurse found one of us with nits then we all went home immediately. Then there were noxious chemicals, painful combing, manic hoovering and anything we might have touched was boiled or bagged for two weeks.

Maybe the lice over there are more virulent/treatment resistant than the ones over here? I caught them in my 20's, and it took weeks to get rid of the feckers. They just would not die.

OP I agree. It's in this company's interests to feed the hysteria and back up the "urrrgh lice" attitude. Maximum disruption for parents, maximum shame and misery for children = more parents who will just throw money at it for the "experts" to sort out.

seeker, are you anywhere in the North? grin

lougle Mon 04-Feb-13 07:36:28

Pixel, my experience is the same! DD1 goes to Special school and she had nuts for the first time in September. She's 7!

So there you go folks, save yourselves time and money -send your children to Special school grin

Hechan Mon 04-Feb-13 07:59:16

My kids were at primary school in the Netherlands, I was part of the parent-volunteer nitty Nora crew, we checked every class, every month, and if we found lice that kid's parents were called to take them home. Sibling classes were rechecked. Affected classes were rechecked the following week.

Affected classes all got letters with instructions for de-nitting, freezing, boiling etc as mentioned above, and kids would put coats on hooks in plastic carrier bags. No stigma, so far as I know, in fact sometimes we would be called in to do extra checks because a parent had reported nits.

A couple of times we found nits on the teacher, usually infant classes where the teachers would be closer to the kids (sitting on knee for stories etc). Teacher would immediately go home for treatment.

Everyone knew who had the nits each time, no one made a big deal of it though. Tbh I'm quite surprised UK schools don't check.

shrimponastick Mon 04-Feb-13 08:01:37


All sounds very extreme. Maybe the lice are a different variant. Tough ole critters...

I am old enough to remember Nitty Nora the Bug Explorer at school too. I didn't get headlice, in fact very fee pupils got the dreaded brown envelope on their desks. What has changed over the years, it sounds much more common nowadays.?

The US policy sounds a bit overboard though, and an excellent commercial idea.

Maybe ill set up in business as a mobile Nit eradicator same as the prev poster. ;)

SofiaAmes Mon 04-Feb-13 08:09:06

America is a very big place with many different customs that vary greatly from state to state and city to city. Just like you might find different ways of doing things in England than in France or Italy, or perhaps even Kent to Newcastle. I live in Los Angeles and have not found the attitude or approach regarding lice at my dc's schools to be any different than what I experienced in London when we lived there. Although, I suppose I could judge the entire English population by the stupidity of ds's teacher in nursery who did a lesson on careers that involved all the kids trying on the same handful of uniform hats on the same day she sent home a note about lice in the class.

McNewPants2013 Mon 04-Feb-13 08:33:39

Thanks to this thread I had the worst night sleep ever up 1/2 the night itching.

Goldmandra Mon 04-Feb-13 08:51:09

*I ashamed to admit this but I don't how to do a proper check on DD hair, I check her hair but don't know what I am locking for.

She has bright blonde hair so please reassure me that I would have seen something.*

No you wouldn't necessarily have seen anything. You need to buy a nit comb and comb through conditioned hair. The large ones will be dragged out on the teeth of the comb and you can then see them.

If you do it once a week you should get new arrivals before there is a major infestation but they may still have laid a lot of eggs.

Going back to the OP's point about a conflict of interest. You can't say for sure that any child doesn't have them. If this company says they have removed one large louse from your child's hair you can't argue even of you find none. It may have been the only one there. You would still need to comb and condition for a few weeks as a precaution.

Yes, my head is itching now!

mrsjay Mon 04-Feb-13 08:53:29

I've always yearned for a little business with a funky van I could drive around to do stuff I liked for money with my mates.

LIke being a plumber, but better.

you could have a huge louse picture with a smiley face and a jaunty hat on your van grin

Hawkmoon269 Mon 04-Feb-13 09:33:22

I wish my dd's school had a school nurse who did nit checks. I'm so bored of her getting them - at least once a month. I'd probably do well in America grin

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