'Excluded' for nits - is this acceptable?

(188 Posts)
weblette Mon 21-Oct-13 21:58:41

Posting on behalf of a friend although ds3 has been 'affected' too.

Ds3's yr1 has a problem with nits - or parents not treating...
Goodness knows I know about it, despite combing all of my four every week, he always has a new adult or five on a Sunday night.

Friend was called by school on Thursday am - "she has nits, come and collect her" - told to take her home for the day. Friend had combed dd at the weekend, cleared a few so head was nitless but now had several large adults. Luckily she wasn't working so took dd home, wet combed, applied lotions, head nit-free. However her dd had to stay at home for the day.

Next morning, call from school - we've found a nit in her fringe, come and collect her again. Not withstanding the fact that adults don't just drop out of a child's head and she had no others, was any of this legal?

With 4 dcs I understand completely how utterly frustrating it is to have untreated nits in a year group. I've lost count of the the hours wasted tbh...

However to me it sounds so very dodgy on so many fronts - there is nothing on the school website about sending a child home if they have nits. How can they justify a child losing a day's education on that basis?

Friend is fuming and wants to know how best to approach the school about this. Please don't say 'check for nits more regularly', we all do atm...

adoptmama Tue 22-Oct-13 04:48:01

So the school found nits on Thursday, asked for her to be taken home for treatment and did the same when she clearly still had nits the following day. Whether or not she was nit free when she went to school on the Friday morning is not really relevant. She had nits. She needed treatment. Why is your friend objecting to dealing with her child's problems? I doubt she is the only child being sent home.

I certainly don't see why it is unacceptable to send her home when she has nits, regardless of where she got them. What would your friend prefer: that she stayed in school for 6 more hours, giving them the chance to lay eggs and increase their infestation as well as risk spreading them to other children and staff? Our school regularly sends children home when they are found to have nits. Seems to me no different from sending a child home who is sick/infectious. I certainly wouldn't be thinking of it as an 'exclusion' - bit over dramatic! And it is not insulting to suggest that the mum checks her own hair too as kids often infect their parents. She also needs to make sure any hats, school coats, pillows etc are also infestation free. I know an awful lot of colleagues who have got nits from children in their class. It is not pleasant for anyone and does not seem at all unreasonable to send children home in these circumstances. I would think your friend should be happy that the school is being vigilant and trying to deal with the problem instead of complaining her child was identified as having lice and she was asked to deal with it.

MM5 Tue 22-Oct-13 04:56:48

What parents fail to do is clear bedding, carpets, fabric sofas and stuffed animals. The lice can live 24 hours without a host. So, lice jumps from child's head to snuggly in bed, mum clears head of all nits and then child jumps in bed with snuggly and low and behold, nit jumps back in child's head.

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 22-Oct-13 05:54:58

Adopt because there's a good chance the adult nit had walked onto the dd's hair at school that day. So she isn't causing the infestation but is being made to suffer extra from it.

LilRedWG Tue 22-Oct-13 07:06:08

Last year DD - year 2 - kept getting reinfested with large adult lice so I spoke to the head. She made a couple of phone calls that day, to parents of the children she thought were the problem and DD was fine from then on.

shebird Tue 22-Oct-13 08:22:39

Watching with interest as I am having a similar problem in my DDs class. I have treated weekly and combed thoroughly twice a week and still they persist. She got them just a few weeks into term which makes me think someone in her class retuned after the holidays absolutely crawling and despite letters and texts to parents by the school I don't believe everyone is treating or checking their children and they are just reinfecting.

valiumredhead Tue 22-Oct-13 08:26:44

Ime parents rarely comb through effectively. I support kids being sent home tbh.

Whereisegg Tue 22-Oct-13 08:40:22

This may well out me, but I got do sick of treating my dd a few years ago that I complained to the teacher about the dc in her class that was crawling.
You could see them, it was awful and I felt do bad for those dc, but I was spending hours a week combing my dd.

Teacher told me they weren't really supposed to talk to specific parents but she would see what she could do....
A letter appeared on the classroom door regarding headlice.

Couple of weeks later this dc and siblings were still infested.

I had another word and teacher must have said something to the patent as the next day, the 3 dc came to school and all had had their heads shaved.
Looked to be about a number 3.

They were all girls. I felt terribly guilty hmm

Whereisegg Tue 22-Oct-13 08:41:31

*so and parent.

And they were still infested, just had shaved heads.

unlucky83 Tue 22-Oct-13 08:49:34

Luckily my DDs have never had them ...the school used to send a letter home to the class of an affected child (didn't indicate which child) -
But in the last year or so they aren't allowed to anymore because potentially there could be a letter coming home every week and people treating their child with chemicals unnecessarily hmm - now they put a reminder on the newsletter telling us that ! Which means they have nits in the school! We then try and track down which class they are - parents are pretty good at telling other parents if their child has them...
Before we weren't getting a letter home every week -doesn't that tell the powers that be something?
Anyway I think they should bring back Nitty Nora - at the end of the day send all the children home with a letter -saying they were checked and they didn't or did have them...and if they didn't if anyother chidlren in the class did have them ...
I worked in an inner city school lots of years ago and there was a family and they were infested with nits - the mother had learning difficulties and just wasn't treating the children - the HT bought treatment for her but no-one in the school was allowed to treat them -it got so bad that they were going to have to be excluded - so the mother shaved their heads and eyebrows ...even the little girl sadsad

Ragwort Tue 22-Oct-13 08:55:56

How come some children never get nits - genuine question, not being sarky?

We continually got the 'nit letters' when DS was at primary school but fortunately he never, ever got nits - I don't know why, we are not scrupulously clean or extra hygienic grin.

And why isn't it such a problem at secondary school?

Hullygully Tue 22-Oct-13 09:01:00

To get rid of nits you have to smother the head in conditioner and comb it through for about 20 mins EVERY OTHER DAY.

This works.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 09:04:38

I think it's not such a bad thing to send kids home who have nits. It's not asking much to actually take care of your child and treat them.

I'd be losses off if one child was infesting mine repeatedly. About time schools were able to act rather than all this "parental rights" crap.

Last year my dd was constant toy getting nits. I was combing her every night and once a week (and the weekend) we would sit and watch a film and I would go through her hair pulling out anything remotely egg or not like with my nails. Even after a Sunday doing that she would come back the next day with large adult nits. I would also regularly be washing duvets and pillows as well as bedding. My other children never had any (except ds3 once- it was an adult which I'm sure came from dd). I must have also run into the hundreds of pounds with nit treatment until I realised it wasn't really helping as they came back anyway. I did treat myself regularly though as it's very hard to get a comb through my hair. To my knowledge I never had them. There were plenty of tears shed because of nits. Mine and hers.
I'm sure really tired would blame me.
Last year dd was in an infant class, in year one. This year she's in the juniors and hasn't had nits yet at all. Something tells me there is a child in the year or two below her who has them constantly. Annoyingly ds3 is now in that class, thank goodness his hair is short, glossy and really easy to go through.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 09:06:14

Pissed off

EdithWeston Tue 22-Oct-13 09:09:20

I think the school is wrong; it's OTT and stigmatising.

And it won't do anything to improve treatment rates, whilst reducing the school time of many children.

EdithWeston Tue 22-Oct-13 09:15:59

"I have treated weekly and combed thoroughly twice a week and still they persist."

You do realise that this could well mean that it is your combing that is ineffective, and your DC is another source of reinfection to all? For some lice are resistant to the treatment, so you can't count on it to work at all. And by combing, it will take a minimum of 17 days to break the louse life cycle, and show reliably clear.

Are you sure about exclusions for long if your DC has resistant nits?

BurberryQ Tue 22-Oct-13 09:17:04

Ragwort I think it depends on the personality of the child, eg if they play head to head or not, girls get them more because they are more likely to play like this and also have longer hair. Also possibly some type of hair is easier to cling to than others.

my dear SIL informed me that her child never had lice (unlike mine) because she was clean - she had one boy with a number three cut.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 22-Oct-13 09:18:22

I don't understand why parents don't treat their kids.

There is a girl in DS1's class (Y1) who always has them, the letter keeps coming home but yet this girl comes into school day after day with unbrushed hair - very clearly she hasn't been treated or combed.

It is revolting, and the school should be able to exclude and force parents to treat it.

BurberryQ Tue 22-Oct-13 09:18:50

also what you might think is a thorough combing, very often just isn't.

bruffin Tue 22-Oct-13 09:19:05

DS best friend in primary was always crawling with them, yet my ds never seemed to catch them from him. It was not until the little girl down the road whose mum had recently died had them that my dcs caught them. I did used to use Lanes tea tree conditioner on their hair, but not religiously.
DD did have a bad patch in yr 7, but it turned out she was catching them from a little boy at the special needs playscheme she volunteered at. I think his mum was ill and in the end the leaders treated him themselves

VerySmallSqueak Tue 22-Oct-13 09:27:00

I thought that even if you use some of the chemical treatments it only kills the live lice and not the eggs,so the eggs will continue to hatch.

I would not agree with a school insisting on chemical treatments.
It would remove the choice from parents who think putting pesticides on their kids hair is not a good thing.

unlucky83 Tue 22-Oct-13 09:27:45

My DDs got their hair washed twice a week - so not scrupulously clean...did always have their hair tied back in a tight pony though...
I don't know if this is an urban myth -but afro hair has a different shaped hair shaft to caucasian - so some lice prefer one type of hair to another - some can't cling to the oval shaped hairshaft as well as to a round one and vice versa ...following that argument maybe some children have slightly different shaped hair shafts and the lice don't like them?
(My DCs are mixed race (arabic/white) and were in a predominately white primary (now DD1 at high school more racially mixed) -maybe they only came across lice that liked a certain type of totally caucasian hair?
(But as I said - the school rarely had lice -probably cos they warned the parents!)
I think the success of combing them out will depend on the comb -
Nitty gritty combs seem good -(I bought one to check my DCs) because they have long teeth - the flimsy plastic ones remind me of flea combs for cats ...and I know they are useless -
(years ago I thought my long haired cat had signs of fleas, brushed her with one of those never saw a flea - got a better one with longer metal teeth and caught loads -yuck!)

FrightRider Tue 22-Oct-13 09:28:06

combing twice weekly is pointless, you need to be combing at least every other day. All it takes is for you to miss one newly hatched tiny louse and by the time you recomb, they could well be adult and laying.

DS had them in reception and I took him home to treat him before returning him to school lice-free, and then combing him religiously for the next two weeks to pick up the babies from any eggs the nitty gritty had missed.

we wash them with vosene and spray them both, and i tie DD's hair up, not seen one since, but i'm sure we will see them before primary school it out.. i got them 3 times when i was at school.

The OPs friend needs to look into WHO her dd is interacting with at school if she was sure the child was louse free... and checking the bedding!

As a non-Brit it's fascinating to read the nit threads on MN. It just seems so bizarre that so many parents and kids have to go through so much while a kid crawling with lice is allowed to sit in class.

I grew up in the US and you would definitely be sent home if you had lice. They're vermin! They're contagious! I mean, obviously.

This is probably why we never had a outbreak or persistent problem. Once in a blue moon you might hear someone had them but it was never a big deal.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 09:36:22

dream that's very interesting. I do wish it was like that here.

I just DO not see how protecting one kids parents rights to not treat is seen as more important than the right for crying else to not have to spend hundreds a year on treating their entire household repeatedly.

About bloody time the offending parents were told.

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