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April 02, 2014

Putting the "Duh" in In-duh-vidualism

Why yes (since you asked) - it really *is* all about you:

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably gotten the dreaded call from the school nurse, letting you know that your child has lice. It happened to our older daughter in kindergarten, and then again two years later when our youngest was in the same grade. Each head lice infestation was a mini nightmare: a work and school day lost to early pickup, chemical shampoos, vacuuming, and endless combing for nits (eggs). The days after, spent worrying that a stray louse might mean another call from the nurse and another day out of school. And that call always came: Your daughter has lice again. She’ll be waiting for you in the office. Last year we spent a couple hundred dollars on a professional lice remover, just because we could no longer face the hours every night we needed to spend nit-picking.

Our experience was not uncommon (though not everyone is crazy enough to call Lice Happens’ 24-hour “LiceLine”). At many schools, any discovery of live lice in a child’s hair warrants a phone call and the immediate removal of the child from school. At some schools, the child may return the next day if the parents have treated the child’s hair—that is, shampooed it to kill live lice. But in schools with “no-nit” policies, a child can’t return unless every last tiny louse egg has been combed from her hair—and schools may check returning students and send them home if any nits are found.

But then, this fall, everything changed. The schools here in Arlington, Va., have adopted what you might call a live-and-let-lice policy. No child will be sent home for lice or for nits. If a child has lice in her hair, the nurse will contact parents but send the child back to the classroom for the rest of the day. Parents are expected to treat the lice, but no one is checking in to enforce this expectation. No classes or groups will be screened for bugs. “No healthy child,” the policy reads, “should be excluded from or miss school because of head lice.”

Watching the author get schooled in the comments is arguably one of the most satisfying experiences we can recall in our long history of online bloviation:

This makes no sense.

"If you have a kid, the odds are very high that they've had lice."

::a few paragraphs later::

"Lice are so hard to get!"


My kids keep getting infested with lice every month or so from an elementary school. The no lice, no nits policy makes sense. And if they would have that rule in my kids' school, I wouldn't have to go through lice clean up every 4 to 6 weeks. It IS easy to get it. And it is such a huge PITA to clean up. And my kids have open sores on their heads from scratching. So, it does actually have a medical impact. I really want to just go clean every kid in the class and their houses for them to stop the infestations.

In the early 80s when our progeny were just starting school, we car pooled with several neighbors who had daughters with long hair. Lice were a terrible problem for them. Having two boys with very short hair, we were lucky enough never to have to worry about lice (though we too spent many hours checking their heads).

Kids sit right next to each other on the school bus or in carpools. Several times we watched them spread from one child to another. Though our boys never got them, we still had to clean our car thoroughly to stop the cycle of reinfection. And our neighbors did everything in their power to deal with a problem they didn't create, both for the sake of their own children and so that no one else would have to go through what someone else had inflicted upon them.

What on earth gets into people like this? Parasitic infestations are not an alternative lifestyle choice.

Posted by Cassandra at April 2, 2014 08:43 AM

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Forget Sea Monkey kids.

Lice: The pets you can share with your friends.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 2, 2014 10:53 AM

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Or parasites as the case may be.

Posted by: MikeD at April 2, 2014 11:10 AM

Having had a neice who had extremely long, dark hair, lice was a constant problem while she was in the early school years. One particularly difficult outbreak at school - where there was a no nit policy - had her out of school for almost two weeks as we tried to comb every dead nit out of the two foot long strands of her hair. We finally had to resort to cutting her hair, much to my BIL's chagrin, just so we could get them all out, so she could return to school.
After one outbreak, she passed them to baby VES, and I learned that mayo works wonders at not only killing lice, but in getting the nits to slide right out of the hair. Such information being garnered when my Mom and I were standing in front of the lice section trying to figure out what the F! to use on a 3mo. old baby and the pharmacist came out to ask if she could help.

Makes my head itch just thinking about it.

Posted by: DL Sly at April 2, 2014 01:56 PM

Yeah, I've heard the mayo thing too (or mayo followed by a vinegar rinse).

Posted by: Cass at April 2, 2014 02:03 PM

Yeah, Mom suggested the vinegar rinse after, but I didn't want to risk any running into her eyes. So we stuck with the mayo and rinsed real well. Fortunately, she had very fine, almost invisible, hair at the time so seeing everything down to her scalp was easy.

Posted by: DL Sly at April 2, 2014 02:40 PM

"Parasitic infestations are not an alternative lifestyle choice."

Careful -- don't go giving anyone any ideas! Next thing you know PETA will be protesting about the inalienable rights of lice being violated or some such nonsense...

Posted by: Matt at April 2, 2014 06:03 PM


Posted by: The Parasitic-American Community at April 2, 2014 06:46 PM

And thus another bloodsucking DNC voting block is born...

Posted by: Cass at April 2, 2014 06:47 PM

Weird. When I was growing up, I never heard of a single case of lice among my schoolmates, relatives, or neighbors--though I assure you that's not because we were particularly clean, or at least I wasn't. Are lice much more prevalent now?

But the really important question this post left me with: what path does one follow in life in order to become a professional lice remover?

Posted by: Texan99 at April 6, 2014 07:08 PM

I can remember two outbreaks of lice in elementary school, but in a rural community dealing with an outbreak of parasites is a much more humdrum business. No one got excited about it. We just did the work of cleaning it up.

Posted by: Grim at April 6, 2014 07:50 PM

I only remember it coming up when we lived in NC (and my kids were in private school). I don't remember it being a big deal anywhere else we lived.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 7, 2014 08:37 AM