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Exclusion from school for head lice.

(14 Posts)
happy2bhomely Wed 26-Oct-16 15:55:06

My sil has just told me that on the last day of term she had a phone call from her dd's school asking her to collect her dd because live head lice had been spotted on her head by the teacher and other children. My sil collected her and she was told to not return her until the infestation was completely cleared.

Sil had a look and combed through her hair at home and found nothing.

My sil had informed the school 2 days before, that she had found lice when she combed her hair. She used a lotion because she had found live lice. She told the school so that the teacher could warn other parents to be on the look out and keep combing.

Her DD has told my sil that she was taken out of class and the teacher inspected her hair by parting it and told her that she had bugs and had to go home!

Is this allowed? I didn't think schools could exclude children for having head lice.

My sil is really upset and her dd is worried that her teacher is going to check her hair again and she will be in trouble if she finds bug.

admission Wed 26-Oct-16 21:40:08

This is a really difficult area.
I do not think that your child has been excluded as the first principle of an exclusion is that you receive written confirmation that your child has been excluded and for what. From your post that does not seem to have happened so it is not a formal exclusion. Also exclusion is and can only be for disciplinary grounds.
Practically every school at some stage has had issues with children with head lice and there is some evidence that head lice are becoming immune to the normal treatments. The question is really what can the parent and school do. It could be that the school wants to treat this as a medical issue and is therefore saying stay away until you know you are clear, much like you would if you had chicken pox. But I am not sure what the school's legal position is in terms of saying you must stay off school.
I would ask them to confirm just exactly what they require of your SIL and DD because if they are saying this is an exclusion, that is completely wrong and must be challenged.

cece Wed 26-Oct-16 21:43:54

If you have not received written notification of exclusion then it is not an exclusion. It is a very formal and explicit letter - there would be no mistaking it.

Surely your SIL can just 'treat' the lice and then send the child back to school?

Ditsyprint40 Wed 26-Oct-16 21:45:19

This isn't an exclusion! i agree though, not sure where they stand with saying they need to stay off school.

noeuf Wed 26-Oct-16 21:50:24

Hello op,

Public Health England say no period of exclusion recommended

Sunshineonacloudyday Wed 26-Oct-16 21:55:19

The teacher has no right to do that schools stopped checking kids hair years ago. They have no right to tell your sil to keep her off until infestation has gone. She could call the education authority in her local area. A teacher told me she found a head lice running around she told me she felt like pulling it out. They never said to me don't return her until they are gone. Schools want their children in school

Floggingmolly Wed 26-Oct-16 21:55:50

She was sent home in the last day of term?? There's ample time to get it sorted before school starts again confused. Why does your SIL imagine she's being excluded during the holidays?

Sunshineonacloudyday Wed 26-Oct-16 21:58:29

Floggingmolly that is a good point. Was she upset with how the teacher spoke to her. I think she took it personally.

ICantFindAFreeNickName2 Wed 26-Oct-16 22:03:05

At our school if live head lice are spotted, we would ask the parents to collect their child and bring them back to school after treating them. So either later the same day or more normally the next day.

abbsismyhero Wed 26-Oct-16 22:10:11

I think the point is there were no lice? And she treated her a couple of days prior so
She would need to retreat in 7 days anyway?

Fairenuff Wed 26-Oct-16 23:05:28

This all sounds archaic! We would look at the child's hair discreetly and if there were signs of lice we would send a letter home with every child asking their parents to check and treat. No way would we say anything to the child directly.

To answer your question OP, no a child cannot be excluded for having head lice.

happy2bhomely Thu 27-Oct-16 00:08:04

Thanks everyone. Sorry, I used the word exclusion because when I looked up public health information for the local borough, the way it is worded is exclusion recommended/not recommended for things like chicken pox and hand foot and mouth. The school did not use the word exclusion.

My sil was surprised and upset to be told to collect her child early from school, when she had already explained that she had treated her a couple of days before. She felt it was a bit harsh for her daughter to be removed from class and told by her teacher she was being sent home because her mummy hadn't got rid of the bugs and it wasn't fair on the other children. Her dd went back into class and told her friends that she had bugs and had to go home because she couldn't be near the other kids. They are only in reception.

When mine were at school, a sign was just put up at the classroom door to let parents know when lice had been spotted in the class so that all parents were reminded to check.

I guess I'm just surprised that they thought it was worth her missing a day from school for. It's not as if it's as simple as treating once and then they are gone forever. I'm guessing that out of 30 children at least one has nits at any time. I know they are annoying and it is especially annoying when a few parents clearly make no attempt to treat them so it just keeps happening. But surely if there were concerns that she wasn't treating her daughter appropriately, they could have given her some advice or referred her to the school nurse or something.

It just seemed strange and I thought I'd ask what other schools do.


smellyboot Thu 27-Oct-16 11:41:46

Blimey, at our school nits regularly do the rounds. We just get letters to remind us to check and use normal conditioner and combing to get rid. There is no chance they would send anyone home because of it. The school would be half empty some weeks!!!!!
It's a pain but no need to take any child out of school...

ThanksForAllTheFish Thu 27-Oct-16 12:00:19

If the child was treated properly 2 days prior to the louse being found on her hair it's possible she has picked up lice again from another child in the class. I can see the point of informing the parents and asking them to treat it but the treatment your sister received does seen a bit harsh. Particularly as she informed the school a few days prior and treated her DD.

DD had lice a couple of months ago and I treated it, bagged up soft toys changed bedding, vacuumed everywhere etc. All lice cleared up from head and no trace of nits (used the nitty gritty comb + lice treatment). I always do follow up treatment in 7 days even if no trace found.

3 days later she returned from school with another live louse on her hair - just one full grown adult so I inspect / comb and rewash everything. No trace of nits on hair, no more live lice found. I inform parents of her best friends to check for nits as I found some I DD (school aren't allowed to send out letters re: headlice in Scotland anymore). Turns out her friend has a massive infestation that wasn't noticed as her hair is just the right shade of blonde for the little blighters to blend in and the girl wasn't really scratching. So the one stray louse I found after treating DD had more than likely been passed from this girl to her. I would have been annoyed if I had been called and told to remove DD after I had already done everything correctly to treat her but it was another child in the class that was actually infested.

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