Friday, September 17, 2010

Get ready to itch!

Last Saturday, after the first week of school was completed, I get a frantic message from my ex-wife that our son may have LICE!  She was at Walmart (some things never change) and noticed a small insect moving on William's hair.  She grabbed it and put it inside a pill bottle she had in her purse and immediately freaked out.  She called me and I quickly googled lice and treatments and we spoke about what we were going to do.

She got a chemical treatment and daily William goes thru extensive screening to ensure that any nits are removed before they can develop into a louse.  It is a long process and we are very blessed that William is obsessed with books and so well behaved, otherwise we might just decide to shave all our heads and pour bleach over the remaining stubble... okay I exaggerate slightly.

On Monday, since he only had had nits he went back to school, as is recommended by the department of health.  We informed the school and asked that they ensure that the children in William's class are screened, as we didn't want William to be re-infected.  The secretary informed Jaime that protocol had changed and the principal would call her back to discuss what would be done.  No call.  

Tuesday I spoke with the secretary and was informed that she had screened William Monday afternoon and did not see any nits, and that for the record she had never in her career ever seen one on a boy.  Flash forward to my ex-mother-in-law checking him upon return from school and she finds some and flash forward again to Monday evening when I spend an hour scanning his head removing many nits.  How qualified can this secretary truly be for screening students?  Anyway, back to Tuesday, I tell the secretary that I need the principal to call me back to let me know what is going to be done, because William will not be returning to class until we are confident that the children have been screened.  She tells me that she will send a letter home to the primary parents, even though she didn't have the principal's permission.  WTF?  Permission to inform parents about lice?  You have got to be kidding me.  A few hours later I get a call from the principal and he said that he will speak to the public health nurse assigned to our school and have students screened.  

I speak to the principal again Wednesday to find out how the process went and ensure it was safe to send William back to class.  He informs me that no screening would take place; the letter was sent home and parents will screen their kids.  But in that same conversation he said that newsletters are ineffective with some parents and most parents cannot identify nits or locate lice.  I'm holding myself back and ask him where the logic is in this situation where we have a public health nurse employed by our school who can identify lice, since parents are not qualified.  He can't answer that other than to say their role has changed to be more educators and perhaps they should send out some diagrams.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

I then go on to warn him that William will be returning to class, since he is free of lice and nits, HOWEVER if William becomes re-infected he will have two VERY UPSET parents on his hands.  And I for one will be going to every bus stop and speak with every parent I see to explain that the principal is not willing to have our students screened and then I will move onto the school board if nothing is done.  And he basically wraps up the conversation and I thank him for his time.    

So he's been back to class for two days and we continue to screen him every evening.  So far so good.  But come on people it's 2010.  Lice should not exist and plans should be in place to screen students when a parent calls reporting an outbreak. 

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