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Briarcliff Schools, Parents Combat Head Lice

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – After head lice screenings showed several positive results at Briarcliff Manor’s Todd Elementary School earlier this year, the school district is working on revising its procedures.

Superintendent of Schools Neal Miller said he met with members of the Briarcliff Manor Parent Teachers Association Wednesday to discuss parent concerns on the school’s head lice procedures and protocols.

Currently, the district does not have a “No Nit Policy,” but notifies parents immediately if their child is found to have head lice, according to procedures listed on the district's website. District officials said they encourage parents to pick up their children from school but students are not required to leave the school or classroom.

Miller said he could not comment on the number of cases reported in the district’s most recent screening.

“I’m not sure it’s that important to put in the numbers. You start putting in numbers and you don’t really know what to compare it to,” Miller said, noting the district has not conducted screenings in prior years. “Parents might think a number is a lot but we think it’s normal. Our school nurse says it’s not much different than other years.”

Miller said the discussion with parents this week was successful.

“We talked about the process for screening students and following up and we think we've come up with some good collaboration and ideas,” he said. “I think we would like to bring back the screenings and go from there and have a bit more intense follow-up.”

PTA members expressed dissatisfaction with the district’s head lice procedures during the board’s June 4 work session. Nora Johnson, co-president for the PTA, said she’s had to deal with head lice in her family before.

“Of course we do want to protect our children’s privacy and we do not want them to feel shamed,” she said during the meeting. “I find it hard to believe that anyone who has had it in their homes would endorse a do-nothing approach.”

Eileen Madden, president of the Todd Elementary School PTA, agreed with Johnson. Madden later strongly endorsed the idea of having regular screenings throughout the school year to catch more cases.

“Most teachers and parents were thrilled to have their students screened (this year),” Madden said. “With a few tweaks and adherence to a policy, we can make this work. We should not walk away from this.”

PTA member Maureen Fraietta, who has children in each of the district’s schools, said head lice is becoming a greater issue at Todd Elementary School.

“I hope the district will adopt some sort of policy and I would love a No Nit Policy,” Fraietta said. “But if they won’t develop a 'No Nit Policy' then a 'No Live Lice Policy' would definitely be appropriate and it would be greatly appreciated.” 

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