Lice Aren’t Nice

April 25, 2006 1 min read

But then, neither is losing school attendance-based state money. And some parents in the Los Angeles Unified School District are more than a little bugged over a policy change in the district that allows children to come to school with nits in their hair. The old policy required that any child with head lice be sent home and not allowed back in class until his or her hair was free of both lice and nits, or lice eggs. But the scrupulous policy kept many kids out of school for days or weeks. The new policy, adopted this year, allows students to return to school once they have been treated—even if some nits remain in their hair. Dr. Kimberly Uyeda, the school’s director of student medical services, argues that the eggs are not infectious and can’t jump from one student to another. But concerned parents—who have met with district officials twice already over this issue—aren’t buying it. Some think administrators have an interest in keeping as many kids in the classroom as possible to ensure the district gets all of its attendance-based funding. “If you’re absent, they can’t make money off of you,” said parent Elena Diona. School officials flatly deny that state funding is a factor in the new lice policy. “We certainly wouldn’t [increase enrollment] through head lice,” Uyeda said. Unless lice attendance qualifies for funding, that is.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.