Randall School Board revises lice policy

Head lice. Photo via Wikimedia Commons/ public domain

The Randall School Board has revised its lice policy to call for students detected with live lice to be sent home from school.

The current policy, passed in 2010, called for students detected with live lice to remain in regular school activities until the end of the day.

The change has been controversial, as reflected by the 3-2 vote for the policy change. Board members Valerie Lass, Jan Brockway and Theresa Mortensen voted for the change, with Jim O’Connell and Randy Nolan voting against.

Board members favoring the change cited community support for the stricter policy.

“Everyone that I have talked to feels the policy needs to be changed,” board President Mortensen said.

But the opponents of the policy change said the current policy is based on research and advice from the Center for Disease Control and pediatrician associations while the new policy is not.

“I am very uncomfortable overturning a policy on no facts,” said board Clerk O’Connell. “We’re going to roll back to a 1990s policy.”

Two audience members spoke in favor of changing the policy at the beginning of the meeting and another spoke in favor of the current policy during board discussion of the meeting.

The new policy also calls for all students to be screened for lice each fall and spring. Volunteers will be used to help perform the checks.



  1. Randall resident says:

    It has taken a few years but the lice policy that has been talked about can be layed to rest. Our community wanted live lice found…go home and get treated. Common sense if you ask me. From what I did hear also stated that it was a heated board meeting. I think heated board meetings could be in the future also as our Randall community starts to speak for what we want in our schools. Another point for me is as a tax payer now more important things can be discussed besides lice. Thank you to the board members that did listen to what the Randall community had to speak about it. I think the other two members that voted against it should try to listen more.

  2. The reversal by the Randall School Board represents a troubling phenomenon. Residents gathered signatures and lobby for policy change. Even though that change is at odds with the best available objective information, some members of the school board place elevated emotion, myth and public pressure ahead of science. Ok, now what if 300 members of the community petitioned that the schools should examine all the students for signs of a cold or flu, and then send home any student with a runny nose? Imagine how many kids with seasonal allergies would be quarantined. This is no sillier – nor misguided – as the school screening for lice. School personnel do not have the proper training or equipment to perform this unnecessary and unjustified endeavor, nor do the likely have the authority to do so. The Randall School board has stepped upon a very slippery slope with their recent action and put themselves and the personnel who might ‘screen’ kids at risk. Who will perform this medical diagnostic procedure, and will the activity be within their scope of medical practice? Probably not. What do the other residents demand of their school board? What do the Wisc Dept of Health and Dept of Education have to say about this matter?

  3. Randall parent says:

    Thank you community and board for changing the policy!! Common sense to send kids home so they can be treated!! For those spouting off their mouths….. Have you personally ever had to deal with your child(ren) having lice?? If its not such a big deal…. Then why are passing back and forth in the classrooms and homes! It’s preventative measures that can stop it!! Thanks to those who supported and listened to what we as a Randall community wanted! That’s why we elected you!

  4. Former Board Member says:

    I for one am glad the policy was revisited and changed. As a former Board member – I give credit to the current Board as I’m sure the decision to revisit policy was not an easy one to make. However, as a parent, I feel it is in the best interest of my child, and my neighbors children, children my child rides the bus with, etc., that any child with lice be removed from school. There are grade school districts in western Kenosha county who currently use parent volunteers to screen for lice. Their policy isn’t based on myth or emotion – just common sense. Let’s be real – a medical license is not required to do a lice screening. Randall used to do lice screening before – I don’t feel that this is “rolling the policy back to the 1990s”. This policy revision is based on what the majority of parents/tax payers prefer when it comes to lice detection in school. The vote is in – both sides weighed in – let’s put this to rest.

  5. Just curious says:

    Just curious if the board members who circulated the petition years ago, and voted in favor of it, as well as the citizens who spoke in favor of it are willing to step up and volunteer to do head checks?

  6. Former Board Member says:

    To “just curious” – why – yes! Of course! The “lice checks” were actually handled by the PTC when Randall did them before.

  7. Randall Parent says:

    To “just curious”-absolutely! I wouldn’t speak in favor of something that I myself wouldn’t be willing to do.

  8. Randall parent says:

    Thank you to our current board for listening to the parent concerns and for acting upon them. To “Just Curious” my answer is yes, I will most certainly volunteer to do head checks! I have done so in the past and will help in any way I can to promote a healthy environment in the school my child attends.

  9. Just curious says:

    That’s good to hear! I wasn’t assuming people weren’t willing to do that – often times people have ideas but aren’t willing to step up and help out. My concern (as a Randall grandparent) was that staff/support staff would have to take additional time away from teaching or their regular job duties in order to check heads.

  10. FLU? COLD? says:

    CHildren who are at school with the FLU and or a COLD should not be at the school.
    Why should children not sick become sick? and their parents? and their friends and their siblings.

    I dont think the policy is backward as the PHD suggests. It is taking those with infestation out of the population and dealing with it within their own homes, by their own parents in ways that the parent determines.

    It is not for teachers to become nurses. Teachers are there to teach.

    So tired of those who spent time in school and not int he trenches making lofty statements.

  11. Thank You Board Members! says:

    I want to thank the board for changing this policy. Have you personally ever had to deal with your child(ren) having lice?? My children have had head lice every year within the first two to three weeks of school. We have battled it 3 – 6 times a year. I know that it was from the school becuase we NEVER had it during the summer. My kids love school but started hating the first day of school. They were actually begging to be home schooled. Our buses are cramped full. My child had to sit next to a girl that had lice all the time. The girl would cry and apologize to my daughter. Becuase her family was not treating her and sending her to school. How fair was that to this little girl or my daughter?
    “The Randall School board has stepped upon a very slippery slope with their recent action and put themselves and the personnel who might ‘screen’ kids at risk. Who will perform this medical diagnostic procedure, and will the activity be within their scope of medical practice?” REALLY – by not doing anything, everyone is already at risk. You do not need anything special to safely do lice screenings!

  12. Thank You Board Members! says:

    One more thing….
    For anyone that finds the new policy silly.
    Would you want my child to come play at you house with head lice? Then driving in your car shoulder to shoulder with a family member?
    If so, let me know and I can have it arranged.

  13. Pam says:

    Good for the Randall School board ! They listened to the parents : )

    My son was sent home over and over again with lice some years back, and it was because kids were not screened and it was because kids were allowed to stay in school with lice so he kept getting reinfested.

    JMO I found that the lice treatments out there don’t work well at all, best to just get a lice comb and go to work on those little suckers. I know it takes some time but well worth not putting toxic crap on our kids heads.

    Now with my grandson in school, once a week I take a quick look through his hair
    that way if there is anything crawling around I’ll catch it early.

  14. kool says:

    This is why it is amazing to me that an education system is run by uneducated people. Does IBM have farmers and hair dressers running their company? It is time to change who can be on school boards. Maybe in the 1800’s it was okay but not in 2012.

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