Turlock City News

Turlock City News

Parents Not Notified of Lice Outbreak at Julien Elementary


There is a head-scratcher of a situation going on at Julien Elementary School in Turlock.

Julien parent Amanda Caton says she was “completely shocked” and “appalled” to learn that the school did not notify fellow parents after her child recently contracted head lice. Caton believes her child contracted the lice from a fellow student at Julien.

Caton, a cosmetologist by trade, says she discovered her child had lice last Thursday after a five-day vacation out of the area. Caton says she removed all of the bedding in her child’s room, thoroughly cleaned her house with bleach, and removed the lice from her child’s hair.

Her child returned to Julien on Monday and was cleared to return to school by the school nurse. By Wednesday, Caton’s child had head lice yet again.

“The school nurse told me that head lice is not a health concern, but more of a common nuisance,” she said. “She said they do not notify other parents in the class or the entire school because of privacy issues.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head lice are not known to transmit any disease, and therefore are not considered to be a health hazard.

Caton says she understands that lice do not spread disease, but says they are much more than just a passing nuisance.

“Parents have to take off work, spend money to get prescription shampoo to kill the nits (baby lice), buy new bedding. It is a very big deal,” she said. “I just think it is irresponsible of the school to not notify parents when a child has lice. It just seems like common sense.”

Calls to the Julien school nurse and principal went unreturned. However, one school secretary said that Julien follows Turlock Unified School District policy to not notify parents for the sake of privacy.

However, TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto gave a conflicting report of the official policy.

“(The) policy for head lice indicates that ‘…administration or admin designee may at their discretion notify parents.’ The typical practice at the sites is to constantly monitor and remind students to not share clothing, brushes, food, etc. Head lice occurs occasionally at elementary sites. Discretion is exercised by site administration depending on the frequency, intensity and severity of each individual case. Additionally, staff are very careful to maintain confidentiality in an effort avoid negative attention to any student or family,” he said in a written statement.

Caton feels that over-sensitivity to privacy could potentially lead to a large head lice outbreak.

“Lice spread like wildfire. I understand bullying may happen but what do think will happen when you have a lice infestation at the school? You don’t have to put the child’s name in the notification to parents, just let everyone know so it can be contained,” she said. “I get the feeling they (Julien) just don’t want to deal with it because a lot of teachers are out for Common Core training.”

Caton indicated her child will not be returning to Julien Elementary School until some sort of lice notification system is adopted.

Comments 4

  1. Richard Pollack says:

    The statement ‘lice spread like wildfire’ is a great example of the power of myth. There’s no truth to it, however. Similarly, the notion that head lice spread on shared brushes, hats, etc. is a fairy tale. We all learned this as children, but there’s no truth to it. All these misconceptions merely stoke fear, and the hysteria then spreads faster than could any head louse. Indeed, ‘outbreaks’ of head lice would be incredibly rare – if they occur at all. Instead, those invariably turn out to be outbreaks of misdiagnosis and misinformation. School authorities and parents are each encouraged to reeducate themselves on the facts. Good resources include documents from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC.

  2. Rose says:

    Add some tea tree oil to your kids shampoo… that will keep the lice away.

  3. Dr. Terry Cheney says:

    I recommend my patients use Greenbug for People to treat as well as prevent head lice. Greenbug is a safe alternative to chemical pesticides that uses cedar oil as the active ingredient. It will kill the head lice as well as the nits or eggs. Plus it is food grade safe so can be used on all ages of children without worry. For more information, their website is http://www.greenbugallnatural.com

  4. small town drama says:

    More misdiagnosis of head lice than actual cases. Hysteria over nothing. Move along folks, Turlock has much more serious problems than overzealous parents having a freak out over a possible lice case.

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