So What Will You Do About the Head Lice?


As a teacher in an elementary school, I have been trained to deal with a number of potential issues.

I know how to carry out fire drills and lockdowns. I know how to defuse the temper of a student which is bordering on a seriously escalated situation. I know how to carefully shift away from delicate topics that arise in the classroom; or, at least, to handle them as sensitively as I can.

Nosebleeds, broken zippers, allergies, asthma, cuts.

The list is endless.

One issue that would be considered minor (compared to some I have mentioned) and that I have a difficult time with is head lice.

This past week, my grade 1 and 2 students returned from their holiday break. On Tuesday, the second day of their return, the vice-principal received what he termed a raging phone call from the parent of one of my students. Her child had head lice. I had spoken to this parent before. This was the child’s third instance of lice this school year. Thus, the parent’s anger.

head lice

I can understand a parent’s frustration about head lice to a point; however, some seem to deem this more of a problem than some other more serious problems (e.g., “My child cannot read.”)

The last time I spoke to this irate woman, she wondered if my room needed to be cleaned. In other words, she thought that something in the classroom was lice-infested. If that were the case, I would suspect that other children and I would also have lice.

I am a professional.

I can answer a question such as, what would you do if there were an armed intruder in your school? Interestingly, I have difficulty answering, how will you get rid of the head lice problem?


About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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