Today I felt this urge to talk about some common illnesses and infestations the kids usually catch during their childhood. These include chicken pox, cough, URTI, diarrhea, cholera, measles and mumps, to mention a few. In most of these cases the kids stay at home to recover once officially diagnosed by the doctor. The scarier situation arises when a child suffers from the head lice infestation and the followed procedure is not in alignment with the standard protocol.
I have seen the eruption of this infestation every now and then and the follow up actions are more or less same everywhere in every school. The kids are alienated from the other classmates, parents are called in and are told to clean the head before sending them back to school again, next day most of the infested kids are back, to be alienated and the cycle goes on.
I am not in favour of mingling infested kids with the others, I so want their heads to be clean as well but my heart do aches here at the emotional breakdown of the infested children. I have seen the shame, scare and low self-esteem in their eyes when their heads are being examined. I always ask myself, is it their fault? Because of the negligence of adults, the kids are suffering. They are isolated, told about their shortcomings and some of them are too young to understand what is actually wrong with them.
There is certain code of ethics which the teachers follow, which we call NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. The head lice infestation handling procedure is in direct contradiction of NAEYC’s principle P-1.3 which clearly states that we shall not participate in practices that discriminate against children by denying benefits on the basis of their medical condition.
I humbly request here to all the parents especially the immediate care takers, please keep a close eye on your kids’ hygiene. If any such infestation happens, act fast and cooperate with the school and save your child from humiliation. I know most of the parents are very vigilant and cooperative but some are too much occupied, juggling with multiple chores at home and work and find it difficult to attain work-family balance, but our child’s self-esteem is of much higher value. The teachers also need to show a little more empathy by not being too harsh and discriminative. Give them something to do while in isolation or talk with them politely about their personal hygiene in small groups.