Schools to no longer send lice ridden children home

Published: Mar. 7, 2013 at 1:19 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2013 at 1:40 AM CST
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AMARILLO - Schools all over Texas will no longer send children home if they have head lice.

It will make your head itch just thinking about it, but the Texas Department of State Health Services says head lice can not make you sick, and therefore it should not interfere with school attendance.

"Academics are very very important, and because it's not a communicable disease, there's no reason for children not to be in school," Amarillo Independent School District's Director of Health Programs Brenda Adams said.

Adams says school nurses are trained to recognize lice, and parents will be notified when their child contracts them. It's simply no longer mandatory for those kids to leave class.

From now on, parents will be advised to treat their child's head and bring them to school the next day.

Amanda Homen has a nine-year-old daughter in an Amarillo School, and thinks this is the wrong approach.

"I could bring my kid home tomorrow with head lice, and go out and spend the money or whatever to get rid of it, and if they're not sending kids home with it, she's just going to come home again the next day with the problem all over again," Homen said.

Homen was sent home with lice when she was 16, and stayed home for two weeks. She says she tried just about everything to get rid of them.

"Rid, Nix, mayonnaise under a cap, vinegar under a cap, we even tried egg whites," Homen said.

But what finally worked was hair dye with a high ammonia content.

The health department only recommends FDA approved treatments which include Rit and Nix, The two lice shampoos you'll find at just about any pharmacy. Amarillo ISD has options for parents who can't afford the approved products.

"We have grant dollars that we basically send the parent to the pharmacist and have the pharmacist work with the parent," Adams said.

The National Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Association of School Nurses back the state's decision, but it's left many parents scratching their heads.