My daughter, year 3, sits right beside a girl in her class who has a really bad case of nits. When it became clear that nothing was being done, I approached her teacher on the matter. She said that the girl’s parents had been informed, as well as the “proper authorities” at the school, but the parents had opted to do nothing about them.

The teacher said that the law of the state in which we live prohibits removing a child from class because of nits. (I checked the law, and she is correct.). I feel awful for the poor girl with nits crawling all over her head, as well as leaving bites all over her neck, chest and arms, but I am also terrified that my daughter will eventually catch them from her, and I am surprised that she hasn’t already. The girl has had lice for a minimum of three months, and probably much longer than that, because she was already completely infested when my daughter started at this school. I should also mention that having to buy nit medicine for our family of five would be a financial hardship for us, which adds to my concern.

Is there anything to be done in this situation ? And if so, what? When should I intervene on my child’s behalf? Thanks.

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  • Tell the teacher you want your daughter removed. And get the teacher to tell the parents the reason why. There is not much more that you can do.

  • This is so sad for the little girl. It makes you wonder what her home life is like.

  • That’s terrible, poor girl and your daughter. I would definitely speak to the principle and councellor at school. The parents need to be brought in and face the seriousness of a massive outbreak of nits.

  • Oh my heart breaks for the poor little girl! I can see how hard this would be as a parent too – you want to keep your daughter ‘safe’, but also don’t want to add to the anguish the other little girl must be experiencing. I don’t have a lot of advice on how to handle the situation, it seems like you’ve done all that you can. Following up with the school on a regular basis will, you would hope, help to keep the pressure on them to try and facilitate change.

  • If the nit problem has been going on for 3 months and nothing been done, school shoud be requested to inform parents (no matter law or not)as they will be laying eggs in her hair and can cause other problems for her if left untreated. Nits like clean hair to jump into so check your daughters hair too

  • The school probably has already reported the case to docs but there is little that can be done about it. Your only choice really is to ask for your child to be moved away so they aren’t so close together (but I doubt you want to punish the poor kid further). Google natural repellents and spray this in your daughters hair each morning before school (a little teatree in a water spray bottle usually does the trick).

  • I think you just have to keep talking to the teacher. I was almost send a care pack home with said child on tips to deal with lice

  • Hi, in terms of your initial question – when to intervene – I usually check with my daughter about what she’d like me to do on her behalf (if anything). Unless I feel the issue really warrants my action (such as bullying in the playground).
    In terms of the head lice, definitely report the child to Dept of Child Services in your state – that’s neglect and needs to be dealt with (you can find more information here https://www.actforkids.com.au/reporting-concerns.html), and discuss it with the Principal and/or school community (P&C) before it becomes an epidemic. It’s a community issue. Good luck!

  • i think that is just so lazy! good old conditioner will help so much! even if you can’t afford anything, manually remove them, slow but at least it is something! i feel sorry for that girl.

  • I would contact some sort of authority such as docs, as that would have an extreme impact on that poor girl, it’s neglect at the least. (I read the comments before commenting)

  • Thanks HopefullyHeidi. Yes, she has little bites all over her neck, chest (the bit that is visible in her uniform), and arms…I just assumed that it was from having the nits for so long, but it might very well be from bedbugs or something like that…I get that every parent parents differently, and I am normally a “live and let live” kind of person with the belief that people should mind their own business…But I also think how I might have felt as a 9 year old girl who goes to school every day only to be shunned by her peers…especially when it can easily be eliminated…

  • I actually have no advice to give, but I find this really sad. I went to high school with a girl that’s parents did the same thing in a round about way because of continual live infestations and shaved her head, which lead to even more bullying. Poor, poor girl. I think the rules do vary from state to state don’t they, where schools can opt to remove the child until they are treated? I just got a handbook from after school care detailing what can occasion exclusion, this story has prompted me to have a look. I would just do all you can for your daughter. Tie her hair up, if you can apply hair spray so there are no loose strands etc. I wonder if this case is not a bit more than just head lice if you can see bite marks on the body? Hmm, sometimes I miss the good old days of having an experienced school nurse on hand.

  • That is pure child neglect. (and even abuse maybe??) Can’t the school report it to the appropriate Govt. Dept ??? What effect is it having on the child emotionally and physcologically (abuse?). Surely there is a legal way of dealing with this. I wonder if there is other ways this child is being neglected!!!!! When my niece was in Reception at school in 1988 if a parent yelled at a child (they didn’t even have to swear or use bad language) they could be accused of physcological abuse. The pupils were told that within a couple of weeks of starting school. Some of the parents weren’t impressed with other things the children were told at the same time (including in children didn’t want ot do what their parents asked them to do they didn’t have to. Kids have rights)). Some parents didn’t wait for appts., they simply visited the Principal in his office. It was in a Govt. school in SA.

  • That is really sad! It is also a form of child abuse as the poor child would be constantly itchy & the scalp could get infected. What are the parents thinking!

  • Christial, I can’t even begin to understand what the parents are thinking. My daughter says that no one will play with the girl, because you can see her scalp “moving”, even from a few feet away. She sits alone every day at morning tea and lunchtime…My daughter would happily play with her if she wasn’t afraid of catching the nits.

  • Wow. That’s horrible! Hope you find a solution. Maybe try to understand why the parents are refusing treatment for their child.

  • The school offered to pay for the girl’s treatment, but the parents declined. But I will try your suggestions to help ward off the little critters on my own kids, so thanks.

  • That is an awful situation to be in & as a parent that does the right thing for your child you are still exposed to reinfestation. Can the teacher treat the infected child & if not, could some parent’s contribute money for head lice products to give to the child’s parents if they can’t afford them. To prevent reinfestation an inexpensive spray bottle filled with water & a few drops of tea tree oil sprayed onto your child’s hair each morning before school helps.

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