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It has been brought to our attention that some parents are discussing other families in the playground on the subject of head lice.


Can you offer any advice as to how to tackle this problem. Obviously continuous problems with headlice in children's hair is very distressing and not to mention time consuming having to comb through thick hair. On the other hand talking about other families in this way is also unpleasant. Is it our role to intervene? Can we ask parents to consider the feelings of others, if so how? If we send out a letter, the families being talked about might not have been aware they were being talked about, sending out a letter could make them feel that everyone is talking about them.


It's a delicate situation, any suggestions greatly appreciated. Our first attempt at a letter seems overly authoratative and could cause a back lash.

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Hi Deb


Noticed that you hadn't had any replies .....so felt I couldn't just 'read and run'.


I take it you have sent the usual sort of letter advising parents that children may have head lice and asking parents to check hair and advice on how to deal with the 'problem'.


The sort of 'playground discussions' that you mention are a real problem aren't they.......don't think that I would try to intervene though.


I had the horrible experience once of a grandparent (she really was an awful woman) standing by our coat rack - advising parents "don't put your child's coat anywhere near that one, she's got lice" I was able on that occasion to intervene because it was said within my 'earshot' and I knew that the child had been fully treated - very unpleasant though.


Have you tried a forum search? May be some good info. to be found on previous threads.


Don't think I've really helped much - sorry



Edited by sunnyday
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I dont really know if I have any good advice either Deb. Like Sunnyday says, I'd be inclined to keep out of any 'playground' gossip/nastiness. Unless you actually overhear what is said it could all backfire on you and become even nastier. Maybe some info on treating headlice and when you do your next newsletter perhaps a comment along the lines of 'Any information overhead when in preschool about another family/pre-school matter must be treated with the strictest of confidence, please do not repeat blah,blah, blah' or something along those lines. Dont know if this would be applicable in this case though & probably wouldn't stop it anyway.

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How do you know this playground chatter is going on? Can the person who brought it to your attention play a part in tackling the problem at all?


My gut feeling is that there is little you can do if you haven't heard anything yourself, unless someone complains to you about what has been said. As you say, it would be awful to make a huge thing of it only to find the family concerned were unaware that they are being talked about in this way.


Is there a way you can tackle this in a very general way such as lynned55 suggests - perhaps you could do it as part of a policy review such as the confidentiality or inclusion policy. That way there would be no need to mention headlice at all, but it might just get your point across.


Since I am officially the Forum's Resident Delinquent Parent, I have most probably been the target of similar chatter over the years and I know how horrible it is to have one's parenting skills judged by others and found wanting. They are lucky to have you in their corner!


Good luck!



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Thanks everyone for your replies, much appreciated. As always you've confirmed my feelings on the issue and provided an excellent solution to the problem.


It is infact our chairperson who brought this matter to our attention, so I presume she feels unable to tackle the problem directly which is understandable.


From your suggestions, I am going to suggest this course of action at our next staff meeting...


Find out information on the Nitty Gritty comb (from a previous forum post) and try to see if parents can obtain them free on prescription. I'm going to have a chat with our new pharmacy round the corner to see if we can work together on this.


Put another notice in our newsletter about headlice.


And underneath something about our equality policy (just not sure what yet).


Thanks again for your insight!

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It is infact our chairperson who brought this matter to our attention, so I presume she feels unable to tackle the problem directly which is understandable.

This might not be a popular thing to say but I'd have thought if your Chair heard it then she should have dealt with it there and then - just as I'm sure you would have done had you heard it directly yourself. As Chair of the committee who runs the setting, she has a responsibility to ensure the policies and procedures of the group are carried out, no matter how hard it may be and how awkward it may make things between friends or playground acquaintainces.


A missed opportunity here, I think - this could have been dealt with personally rather than being dragged on.


Hope the family gets the free nit comb though - what a good idea!



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