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Just checking: Leanne Aston, who is objecting to the lack of effective treatment for head lice at schools, with daughters Sarah, Meghan, Lauren and Hannah. Picture: Mark Smith
Mother's war on head lice

A FED-UP mother of six has declared war on the head lice scourge sweeping primary schools.

Leanne Aston, who is also a foster mum, is sick of her children coming home infested with the parasites.

Mrs Aston has vowed to fight for more funds for treatment and checks and to scrap rules limiting teachers from checking students' scalps.

"It's in plague proportions," Mrs Aston said.

"I've spoken to literally hundreds of people and they all agree there is a huge problem.

"The teachers I've spoken to have thrown their hands in the air and said: 'Johnny's got nits. What can I do?' They're frustrated and they feel it's out of control."

Mrs Aston, from Riddells Creek north of Melbourne, aims to collect 2000 signatures calling on her council, Macedon Ranges, to offer cheap lice treatment. And she is lobbying MPs to help overturn state government rules restricting teachers from checking students for lice.

Victorian Primary Principals Association president Fred Ackerman said rules issued in 2001 required schools to get written parental permission before teachers check for lice.

But some parents do not give permission.

Mr Ackerman said council-employed "nit nurses" could check students without permission, but they had gradually been phased out.

A Department of Education spokesman denied parental consent was needed, saying it was a recommendation only.

"The introduction of the 2001 regulations do not prevent nit checks from occurring," he said.

Mrs Aston said lice were rampant in schools, creches and kindergartens, and children whose parents withheld permission were ostracised.

"It's very sad for

the children because they become isolated," she said.

Mrs Aston said many parents were unable to afford the lice treatment, and councils should supply it cheaply.

"For a lot of people, they find out on Monday their children have head lice, but they don't get paid until Thursday, so during that time their children infect other children," she said.

© Herald and Weekly Times


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