Parents want change for Santa Rosa County schools' lice policy

Parents want change for Santa Rosa County schools' lice policy

Santa Rosa County parents have started a petition challenging the school district to change its lice notification policy. The petition now has nearly 1,200 signatures.

It all started with Tim Midgett. His two children attend S.S. Dixon Intermediate and they both got lice at school. He's upset the school district never warned him about it.

He said, "I was pretty upset about it, they say there are no health concerns. It's still a parasite living on my kids. My kids were exposed to it and school system didn't feel the need to let parents know it was going around."

He posted about it on Facebook and a lot of other parents agreed. He felt if he was notified immediately, he could have done more to prevent it.

"That was a week for parasites to fester and grow and too late for over-the-counter drugs. We had to get a prescription, it took money and time to do that, " said Midgett.

Andrea Light saw the post and felt something needed to be done and started the petition. It's asking the school district to send out a notification to other parents with a student has lice.

Light said, "Parents believe they have a right to know when something like this is going on."

Director of Student Services Sherry Smith said they don't send out a notification to respect the privacy of the student who got it. She said the teasing and the stigma that goes with lice can be brutal.

Smith said, "They can make fun of those children, not want to sit by them, tease them and make them feel very uncomfortable."

She added that this policy falls within guidelines from many large health organizations. However, Tim and Andrea feel there's a way to notify other parents without jeopardizing a students privacy.

Light said, "How will you know what student is absent for what? I could see it more for a classroom notifications, but not school-wide. How will you know which kid if it's schoolwide?"

The school feels even if a name isn't mentioned, the students often figure it out which child the notice would be referring to.

Midgett took matters into his own hands and told other parents about his own children having lice in hopes they could prevent it and keep the problem from growing.

Both Light and Midgett plan to meet with Santa Rosa County administrators to try and come to a solution.

The Santa Rosa County School District said Escambia and Okaloosa counties have the same policy when it comes to notifying parents.

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