Parents Itching To Get Policy Changed


Sunday, March 30th 2008, 7:06 pm
By: News On 6


There are concerns with the Tulsa Public School head lice policy. As it stands, kids are only sent home if they have live lice. This means even if kids have nits, which are the egg of a head louse, they can stay in school.

NewsOn6.com's Nicole Wiseman reports some parents have a problem with this policy and say the school district needs to change its ways.

Mike and Saunia Nelson have four kids. Two are in school at Cherokee Elementary and head lice have been a constant battle for the past several months. The family has spent countless hours doing everything they can think of to treat the lice and try to prevent it from coming back.

"We're going through their hair. We're treating it. We've gone to dye it, oil it, cut it, just so we can get them out easier, said parent Mike Nelson. "We've done everything we can."

"I have sores on my head most of the time because of them having to comb them out," said Kassie Nelson who has been fighting head lice.

Now the family is pointing the blame at the Tulsa Public School No Nit Policy. The policy only sends kids home who have live lice. Meaning if a child has nits, which is the egg of a head louse, they can stay in school.

"It's not just oh you have nits, but we're not going to worry about it. It's you have nits, here's what we need to do to make sure it doesn't turn to lice," said Tami Marler with Tulsa Public Schools.

Tami Marler with Tulsa Public Schools says the district implemented the No Nit Policy in 2005 after multiple studies showed, when kids only with nits are being treated, they don't pose any risk to other children.

But, that's not good enough for the Nelson family who says their kids keep getting head lice even after all their efforts to keep it away.

"We'll get rid of it and get it completely gone in the house. Everyone will have their heads done and they'll go back to school and catch it again because of other kids at school," said parent Saunia Nelson.

Tulsa Public School officials say they closely monitor kids with nits and parents have to prove they're treating their child. School officials say there has not been a rise in the number of head lice cases since the policy went into affect.

"It's not the nits that are jumping from head to head. It's live lice. So, a No Nit Policy would not over eradicate lice spreading because it's not the nits causing the problem," said Marler.

Still, the Nelson family says this is a problem and won't get better until the policy is changed.

Tulsa Public Schools implemented their system a couple years after the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses came out against the No Nit Policy.

For more information on head lice prevention and treatment visit HeadLice.Org.

By Nicole Wiseman, NewsOn6.com and Kyle Dierking, Video Journalist. Find more of their stories in our Web Exclusives section.