JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local mother says her son came home with head lice four times in the last couple of months, but that his school -- Holiday Hill Elementary -- wasn't doing anything about it.
After News4Jax spoke with that mom -- who asked not to be identified -- and questioned the Duval County School District about the issue, the principal called the mother Wednesday to apologize for what the district called an oversight.
The mom told News4Jax that she found lice in her son's hair four times since early December, but that she was frustrated by the school's lack of response and decided to take her concerns public.
“I contacted (the school), because if he's giving it to somebody they need to be aware, and if he's getting it from somebody, we need to find out who that is,” the mom said.
The Duval County School Health Services Manual says that if three or more children in one elementary classroom are found to have live lice or nits, the school must notify the parents of all the children in the elementary classroom by sending home a notice.
In this case, there were no other reports of lice in the boy's classroom, so the school wasn't required to send out notices. But when a student with lice returns to school after treatment, school staff must examine the student, which didn't happen in this case.
The district sent News4Jax a statement that said:
School leadership at Holiday Hill Elementary School became aware today that a student returned to school without being screened prior to returning to the classroom in late December. Upon hearing this, the principal immediately contacted the parent to apologize, carried out a thorough examination of each student in the child’s classrooms and provided notifications to each of the student’s parents. Thankfully, no lice or nits were found. School leadership is using this as an opportunity to train and remind staff about protocols pertaining to lice.”
There are many different types of treatment for lice, but some work better than others. One of the most popular is the Nix lice treatment kit. It's over-the-counter and can be found in most neighborhood stores. It's fairly easy to use: Just apply it to dry hair, wait 10 minutes and rinse.
Some nits -- or lice eggs -- are resistant, so a second treatment is recommended 10 days after the first.
There are also at-home remedies like sleeping with olive oil, full fat mayonnaise and vinegar in your hair, covered by a shower cap.
If at-home remedies and over-the-counter treatments aren't working, a doctor can prescribe a stronger medicine.
The Duval School's Health Manual has a lot of information on prevention, treatment and school guidelines.
The Florida Department of Health links to the CDC, which also has helpful information on lice.
The Holiday Hill mother is now checking her children every day and encourages parents to be aware.
“If there's a child who has a busy parent or a parent who is not doing what needs to be done, they're suffering, and then it's just going to keep infecting whoever's near them,” she said. “We need to get it out.”