They say that if a child has head lice, at least the child has friends. That’s only funny if it’s not your child.
When I was the principal of a large elementary school, head lice were a chronic problem. The school nurse made periodic “head checks” in the classrooms whenever a single case appeared. If there was an infestation, we’d duly alert all parents and ask the parent of each infested child to take him or her home. If parents lacked transportation, we’d arrange to have the child transported by school bus. My heart went out to the tykes sitting alone in the nurse’s office waiting for their parents to appear. My heart, but not my head.
The school nurse and I joked (privately, of course) that we should install a “lice-o-meter” in front of the school so that parents could tell at a glance the rate of infestation. Sort of like a pollen count meter. Again, that’s only funny if it’s not your kid.
Parents in this school would sometimes become frustrated and angry if their children had lice. The district was poor, and the medicine cost money. Some blamed the school for not protecting their kids against lice, an impossible task. A few parents every year treated the problem by shaving their kids’ heads or treating their hair with kerosene.
Now, in Los Angeles, families can hire the “lice whisperer” to remove the nits from their child’s hair. For roughly $300, not counting follow-up visits, combs, and special shampoos, parents themselves can avoid what one called, “the ick factor.” Other major cities have similar services from a franchise called the Hair Fairies. Despite these tough economic times, business is booming.
However, when one parent of twins realized it would cost over $1000 to hire a “lice buster,” he decided to do it himself, seeing it as an opportunity to “bond” with his kids.
I guess I never looked at it that way.