The leading professional association for pediatricians in America is advising against sending kids with lice home from school due to “stigma” and “psychological stress.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued new guidance on head lice Sept. 26, the first time since 2015, arguing head lice screening programs in schools are not cost-effective and do not have a significant effect on lice levels. The organization also argued lice are not a health hazard or a sign of poor hygiene.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says students who have head lice should not be sent home from school because it can result in significant stigma and stress. https://t.co/DGl4nx0eP5
— NBC4 Washington (@nbcwashington) September 28, 2022
“There is significant stigma resulting from head lice infestations in high-income countries, resulting in children and adolescents being ostracized from their schools, friends, and other social events,” the new guidance says. “Head lice can be psychologically stressful to the affected individual.”
Head lice do not jump or hop from person to person, the AAP said, and typically only spread via direct head-to-head contact with an infected person’s hair. Lice are also prevalent throughout the entire world and are not more likely to afflict any particular racial or socioeconomic group, according to the report. (RELATED: ‘This Is ABSURD’: Megyn Kelly Blasts Report About Children Under 11 Wearing Masks Until ‘Fully Vaccinated’)
In addition to sending a child home from school, informing the wider community that a child is infected can lead to stigma, according to the AAP. As a result, infections should be kept confidential, head lice screenings at school should not be performed, and preventing kids from returning to school before they are lice-free may violate their civil rights, the guidance says.
The AAP states that no kids who are otherwise healthy should be kept home from school with lice, in order to not delay their academic progress. The organization previously stated schools should not be compelled to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic due to risks they argued were associated with in-person learning.