Parents question Mo. school district’s lice attendance policy

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HOLDEN, Mo. -- Holden, Missouri R-III Schools are dealing with head lice and some parents don't like how it's being handled.

According to the district, 19 students had been affected as of early February. The district posted information to its website explaining the district's policies on head lice.

It says that parents of children with lice are contacted to pick up their children from school and aren't allowed to ride the bus until they've been cleared by a school nurse. They aren't allowed to return to school if they have live lice, but are allowed back in school with nits or eggs.

“Me and my wife thought about keeping our kids home, because like I said when I was back in school you didn’t come back until you got rid of it and you had to prove you got rid of it,” Holden parent Shawn Guinn said.

The school district says it's going by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National School Association of Nurses recommendation that no-nit policies be discontinued. That's because nits are often empty egg shells, and unlike live lice, unlikely to be transferred to other students.

The district says lice policies across Missouri vary. Holden administrators say they chose their policy because the burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.