Nit policy withstands
Students with head lice eggs remain
By Linda Jump
Florida Today -
Parents won out in a fight to keep the Indian River County School
District's current policy prohibiting students with head lice eggs from
returning to school.
Last fall, school health officials asked the board to eliminate the policy
based on new guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The academy
suggested that nits, tiny lice eggs, are not an exposure risk and are not
The School Board on Tuesday unanimously voted against setting a public
hearing to change the wording of its current nit policy. Proposed changes
would have let students with nits go back to school as long as there were
no live lice.
But a petition signed by 350 parents and residents asked the board to
leave the policy as it is. The district's elementary school principals
also asked that the no-nit policy stay in place.
Angela Weathersbee, a Sebastian parent who circulated the petition, said
she was pleased that the board listened to the parental concerns. "I felt
like I was David battling Goliath," she said about going before the board
to argue against the change.
Weathersbee said the no-nit policy "will provide at least a modicum of
She told board members that lice carry disease such as Typhus and that she
and other parents are worried that a single nit could expose their
children to head lice and other health problems.
She said she studied the issue and found that medical professionals don't
all agree that nits are safe. She also called the author of a study that
the AAP cited in changing its opinion about nits. "I've done my research,"
Last fall, the Brevard County school district dropped its no-nit policy,
partly based on the AAP's guidelines. Weathersbee said she's contacted
Brevard parents and suggested they lobby their school board to reinstate
the no-nit policy.
Indian River School Board member Herbert Bailey said after listening to
parents who have called him, "I've changed my mind about this. The public
had a right to say what they did and that's what changed my thoughts."
Board President Steven Mohler agreed. "We all had feedback from parents,"
County schools' lice-rule
By Linda Jump
Florida Today -
VERO BEACH -- After hundreds
of parents signed petitions and called or e-mailed school officials,
elementary principals asked the Indian River schools superintendent to
maintain the district's current head-lice policy.
In a public hearing last
month, the School Board made several wording changes to the policy,
including eliminating the part stating students were to be dismissed, if
they had nits, or lice eggs, on their heads. The board had planned Tuesday
to set another hearing date to review the revisions.
But Superintendent Roger
Dearing said it was no longer necessary. "A no-nit policy seems to give
parents a greater level of comfort to safeguard the spread," he said.
Dearing said none of the
principals objected to the wording change when it was first discussed in
Elimination of the no-nit
policy was recommended by school health officials after the American
Academy of Pediatrics determined nits were not alive and not a risk to
become lice, if the head is properly treated. Last
fall, the Brevard school district eliminated its no-nit policy, as did
many districts across the nation.
But Dearing said parents are
worried that other parents may not properly treat their child's head,
which could expose their children to the pest when their children return
to school. Originally, Dearing said the issue was the absence of students
who returned to school after treatment with nits. Under the current
policy, the spotting of a single nit requires that the student stay home
until no nits are present.
Some board members still
felt the issue should be the board's decision, not Dearing's, as to
whether the policy changed.
"The grassroots is parents.
I've seen petitions with over 400 names. We've shed the light on this
issue, but this should be brought back to the board to take another vote,"
said Board Chairman Steven Mohler.