15 Sep 2014
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Parents Question Lice Notification Policy

Farmingdale parents voiced their concerns at the November school board meeting.

Parents Question Lice Notification Policy

Parents expressed concern about how the notifies parents of head lice cases at the November Board of Education meeting.

"At present only the child's classroom in which the lice is found is provided with notification," said Stacy Trantino, a representative from the PTA.

Assistant Superintendent Barbara Horsley explained that there had been 36 total cases of lice reported as of last week, which she classified as a normal number for this time of year.

"It's the kind of thing that happens as people close up their houses and the winter progresses," Horsley said. "If a live case of head lice is found on a child within the building, the child is sent home and the class is checked. The parent is then asked to provide proof they have treated the problem and they come back to school."

Horsley added that all families within that class are notified that a case was found and that their child has been checked by the school nurse. The nurse also checks the child on which the lice was found and any siblings in the district before he or she returns to class.

"Our concern is that not only does that child expose children within his/her own classroom but they go to gym, to art and ride buses and in all of those activities, there is a much wider exposure to children than just in the classroom of the child that has the lice," Trantino said. "A request has been made if there can be a reconsideration to the district policy."

Parents requested the whole school be notified or a general letter go home in the beginning of school about the time of year lice is prevalent. Horsley said that in some of the schools there is a letter that is sent home in the opening packet.

"Notifying the entire school for one case could be more than is appropriate in terms of  attention to the issue," she said. "But sending one out at the opening of school so people are on notice, I can talk with the principals about that."

There is no district policy on lice notification, just "procedures we try to be consistent about," Horsley said.

Other parents at the meeting said classes were not being checked after cases were reported. Horsley responded that if a case was found on a weekend and is treated, the classes would not be checked.

"We did a full round of 'are we being consistent,' but if they missed that one, they won't miss the next one, because we made that concretely clear," Horsley said.

Speakers added that Farmingdale parents are worried and going to a business in Hauppauge called DeLiceful to treat the cases, which charges more than $100 per child to treat for lice.

"That is unnecessary," Horsley said. "But if you don't have a child where it happened in your classroom or home before, you might be blind sighted."

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