BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Education  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Head lice link to school bullying
Louse
Head lice are common among children
Excluding children from school because they have head lice may cause anxiety and lead to bullying, according to new research.

The survey of over 200 pupils aged between seven and 12 years found one in 10 had been taunted for having head lice.

Head lice facts
Head lice cannot fly, hop or jump
They live on all kinds of hair
They are not dangerous
Lice are the insects, nits are the empty egg cases of the lice
More than one in six of those surveyed had felt upset by getting the infection and one in ten said it made them feel miserable.

The report found that over a fifth (22%) had taken time off school because of head lice, with 12% taking three days or more off.

But the study - Lousy time in the playground, by Lyclear Creme Rinse - says time of school will not in itself clear the infection, particularly if the source of the infection is from home rather than school.

'Nit nurse'

The report dismisses calls for the return of the school "nit nurse" phased out in the 1990s, saying this approach was often ineffective.


We must explode the myths about head lice

Oliver James, report co-author
The report authors said checking for living lice was best done on wet hair, which was not a practical option for pupils going back into class.

It may take up to 20 minutes to check a child for living lice which would mean it would take up to 10 hours to thoroughly check a class of 30, the report said.

And to be at all effective, inspections would need to be carried out on a regular basis, but nit nurses may only be able to visit once a term, they added.

'Social stigma'

Joint author of the report and clinical psychologist Oliver James said: "Louse infection still carries a heavy social stigma."

"It is strongly associated with an inferior social status - in our imaginations only poor offspring of neglected parents are afflicted.

"It is taken as a sign of dirty, incompetent care. But above all it can be a trigger for bullying of children.

"We must explode the myths about head lice. Anyone with hair, clean or dirty, can be afflicted."

See also:

03 Sep 01 | Health
21 Jun 00 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Education stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes