‘Super lice’ invading metro schools; parents frustrated with lack of communication

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Several families in the Independence School District say they're dealing with a scourge of head lice cases, and they're hoping it will prompt the schools and parents to do things differently.

It might look like a typical hair salon, but at Miracle Sisters, their specialty is removing lice.

"We go through literally strand by strand like she's doing in there, and we remove everything -- the nits, the eggs, baby bugs, adult bugs, everything. We leave nothing in their hair," said Jean Pankey with Miracle Sisters.

Malaney Dacy-Gabauer knows firsthand how hard it is to get rid of pesky lice and nits. Her son Wyatt picked up lice at his Independence school.

"It's impossible to get rid of. I had to throw out pillows. It was just totally ridiculous," Dacy-Gabauer said.

After six weeks of treatment, she ended up shaving her son's head.

But Melaney's still frustrated. The Independence School District never notified parents of the outbreak.

"Independence needs to let people know it's going around. It's pretty bad when I'm going on social media to see lice is hitting," she said.

The school district's handbook lays out its lice policy, including when kids are sent home, and leaves notifications to the discretion of each school's nurse.

The Independence School District released the following statement to FOX4:

"The Independence School District follows the guidance of the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics in our response to lice. We educate teachers on signs to look for and our nurses check students if they show possible signs. If a student is found with lice, they are sent home until they are treated and free of lice. The decision to send home communication to parents regarding head lice in a specific classroom, grade level, or school, will be at the discretion of the district with consideration of medical and student privacy laws."

Dacy-Gabauer's now doing everything she can to keep her kid from getting it again.

"He's got different types of gel in his hair, peppermint oil, argon oil. Every day there's a different type of oil that I'm putting in his hair, and I go through his hair with a nit comb," she said.

And the Miracle Sisters said those are the best things you can do. Peppermint is a proven deterrent for lice.

Girls can also keep their hair pulled up, tight to the scalp, to keep the pests away. In addition, it's a good idea to check their heads regularly with a special metal comb.

"Run that comb through them once a week so you'll catch it early. That's the number one sign is catching it early. That's the best thing to help prevent," Pankey said.

And if someone in your house still gets lice, everyone in the home should get checked.

Experts say many over-the-counter lice treatments are not effective in treating and preventing lice because of longterm overuse and misuse of the products. So you have to meticulously comb through the hair, use peppermint or seek professional help to fully kick lice to the curb.