West Warwick parents unhappy with school lice policy

Priscilla Lucianno, second from right, organized Thursday's petition-signing

By Alana Cerrone

acerrone@abc6.com

@Alana_Cerrone

It’s a known problem in schools nationwide. When kids get together there’s an increased risk of spreading lice. But in West Warwick,it’s school policy that kids don’t have to stay home if they have lice, and some parents aren’t happy about that.

“I’m appalled…I feel bad for the kids.”

It’s 4 weeks into the school year and schools in West Warwick have already reported lice.

It’s one of the common problems in schools nationwide, but these moms in West Warwick say the school policy isn’t helping the situation.

“At that age the kids love to hug and kiss and they share everything together, of course the lice is going to spread,” says Marta Faria, a mom in West Warwick.

The district has a no-exclusion policy, so if a child is found with lice, he or she is treated at home but can then come back to school.

If the nurse still finds live lice, that student is treated again until the lice are gone.

We reached out to the West Warwick School Department, and they said they’re simply following recommendations from the Rhode Island Department of Health.

The Department of Health says administrators should not keep children out of class because they have lice, and they should return to class after their first treatment.

Representative Patricia Serpa says those guidelines should be looked at as a footprint.

“Since we are a home-rule state every district has the authority to determine their own policy, including whether children with live lice should be allowed in school.”

In Westerly, students are excluded from school until lice or nits have been treated. Their handbook says no student is allowed back in school with live lice.

The parents I spoke to also said they’re worried about kids coming to school with lice and getting bullied. They’re hosting a petition-signing at West Warwick High School at 6:00 Thursday night to try and push the issue forward.

The parents have now started an online petition to change the school policy, available here. 

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