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Head Lice(10 Posts)
How would you handle this situation.
2 sisters, one in Year 8 and other in Year 10. They're close. They also come from a difficult family (think MH issues, alcoholism etc). Parents are aggressively protective of the two when they perceived they are being picked on, but will happily neglect the two and leave them to their own devices when it suits the parents. They are given no social life, no access to money. They are lovely girls.
Their friends have spotted active lice in the youngest one's hair but won't say anything. They have come to me, agonising about it.
I've thought about how to handle this - various scenarios from buying them the hedrin and comb to take home (but the parents will demand where it came from and it could backfire on me), to giving them the cash to buy the stuff (again, parents will kick off) to actually helping them sort it in my classroom at the end of the day when I get a PPA.
Then, how do I approach this? We have no school nurse, the girls are very private with trust issues.
Please oh wise MN'ers. Help me out on this. Do I approach them both together for a chat? There's no shame in lice - my own DD's have had their own share - so I won't embarrass them if I can help it, but they will be gutted, won't they? Or do I approach the older one to tackle it with her younger sister? And buy her the stuff?
Is there SS involvement? As a primary teacher, this is the sort of thing which I would refer on. I suppose by that age it might be a woolly area.
I would try and speak to them privately if it wasn't being passed on.
I would follow the school's guidelines. I wouldn't want to do anything to make things more difficult at home. Who is in charge of safeguarding?
Speak to the older one discreetly. Comb both of them in PPA unless your SLT pastoral has social worker liaison. Explain to eldest to wash pillow cases/hairbrushes/hats that night. Repeat two weeks later. The only problem with that scenario is if parents are both infested and do actually hug their kids.
And before anyone has a go, I did do this for a year 7 kid and would not hesitate to do it again. (Not deemed bad enough case for SS who had visited but poor kid was crawling with them <itches head> You could not do this in primary, too many cases, not unless you did whole class all at once with comb and conditioner (great idea IMHO). But secondary tends to be a lot better with fewer cases per class.
I'm not a teacher... but this is my opinion for what it's worth:
You have to pass this on to your safeguarding person at school. They will refer if necessary (i.e. part of the picture of general neglect)
You can't buy them hedrin. It's overstepping the mark, and it's a chemical product that should only be administered by parents. (but bless you for wanting to!)
You can't comb them yourself. Again, it's overstepping the mark. However, you can talk generally about the life cycle of nits, and about how regular combing should get rid of the lot of them within a few weeks.
You could possibly have a nitcomb 'spare' and needing a home(nittygritty ones are best, they are not cheap but they get most of the eggs out as well as some very tiny juvenile lice). You can give it to the older child, and explain about diluting conditioner until it just wets the hair and makes it easier to comb, and suggest that the two children comb each other's hair every few days until the nits are gone.
Good luck with this, and I'm glad there are teachers in secondary schools who pay attention to children's needs like you obviously do.
I would consider giving them both nitcombs - extremely cheap and can be reused over and over again if the nits keep coming back.
I had long thick hair and got headlice a lot as a teenager, I didn't use chemical treatments as they were expensive and didn't usually work 100%, whereas a couple of bathtimes spending 20 mins combing until nothing else appeared on the comb usually cured it. I got them so often I had to use the comb regularly as a kind of preventative measure... By Year 8 age I was definitely not getting my mum to treat it though, I dealt with it myself with the comb. I would say by that age it's more of a self-care issue although obviously they should still be getting parental support if they need it.
I'm sure with a bit of education and a "free" nit comb they will be able to take care of the issue themselves with minimal embarrassment.
^ only if the teacher shows the eldest one how to do it. Bloody hell, there's grown women on here who struggle let alone a fifteen year old having to do it for her sister
I have spoken to the Child Protection officer about one of the sisters (the youngest is in my form class) about other concerns and he asked me to keep a keen eye. They are very aware of the MH issues but as yet, the girls aren't ringing any safeguarding bells. An older sister left 3 years ago and she has a SS worker but she has threatened suicide, run away, self-harmed . As far as I know, no SS involvement with the 2 sisters in school.
I'll speak to my CP person again today and seek advice.
I'll ask about our guidelines on this today. SLT didn't renew our trusty school nurse's contract 2 years ago and she would have dealt with this.
I may also pop into chemist on way to school this morning to buy 2 combs. I won't get the chance otherwise. At least (If CP thinks I can talk to them) I'll have the stuff on me for the girls that have over Easter.
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