BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A Brunswick County School policy on head lice has been called into question from teachers, parents, and members of the community.
According to school officials, there has been a good amount of concern from parents and teachers about head lice and lice eggs, or nits.
They brought in officials from the county health department Tuesday to discuss policy changes for dealing with children with head lice.
According to health officials, having lice is more of a nuisance than a public health issue. They say it is a different situation from ticks or mosquitoes that transmit disease.
Even though it's a more of a nuisance, having lice can be a significant social issue. What really can cause infestation is live lice moving from one child to the other as opposed to eggs.
Parents, teachers and even a principal in Brunswick County say having lice is more than just a nuisance.
It's costing parents hundreds of dollars for treatment and costing students class time.
Parents and teachers say the problems are starting with the eggs, or nits, and the policy needs to be addressed to encompass that.
Brunswick County most recently changed its policy in 2009. The current policy reads that only the children who have actual live lice are released from school. In an effort to improve student attendance, students with nits are allowed to stay in schools.
Additionally, Brunswick County schools no longer administer mass screenings for lice in schools under that policy.
Parents and teachers say they're seeing an infestation of the nits in children's hair, where lice lay eggs. Vickie Smith is the Principal at Union Elementary in Shallotte. She says that this has been a reoccurring problem in county schools for a while, and some students have missed multiple days of school.
"Children can't learn when they're constantly dealing with head lice and their heads are itching and uncomfortable," said Smith. "It is a nuisance but not just for you but for all of the children around you and their families. So, the best thing is to get rid of it."
School leaders will consider moving back to an older policy which would make tighter restrictions on students allowed in school. To this end, students would not be allowed to attend school when lice (live bugs) or nits (eggs) are present.
Under the proposed new policy, students who show signs of nits would not be allowed back to school until they are treated and checked.
Board members will review the information presented today from health officials, parents and teachers and will re visit this issue at their next meeting on February 4.
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