I sat down at my desk this morning only to find a couple of lice bugs in a ziplock bag. Now, I can happily eat my lunch with kids spewing right next to me, but what I have found most nauseating in my job is (are?) lice.
I try not to talk crap about teachers, but I couldn't help but be infuriated by this find when I recalled hearing how it landed on my desk yesterday: a teacher, Ms. Meanie, picked these lice bugs out of a student - in front of the entire class - and sent her down to the office with her baggie of lice. I absolutely cannot stand when people treat students that have done nothing wrong as though they are dirty animals. This little girl who had been sent packing is a repeat offender, a first grader, Sweetie 1, and she has a sister, Sweetie 2, in third grade. I have had the unfortunate circumstance of getting to know them and their mother very well over the last year and a half, constantly in my office with lice. These little girls are about as sweet as they get, and as their teachers behaves worse toward them, I get more protective. To give you an idea of what their teachers have done: recently, Ms. Meanie marched Sweetie 1 down to my office, pointed to live lice, and said, "See, she's infested. It's disgusting." Um, the kid's not deaf. Singling the students out, embarrassing them, and point blank telling them their infested and it's disgusting is just plain mean, IMHO. It also is polar opposite of what I tell all students with lice that I meet: it's not your fault and it doesn't mean your dirty. I hate enforcing our "no nit" district policy for reasons that I can elaborate on at a later date.
Back to today. The Sweetie's mom brought the girls in, and I was able to send Sweetie 2 off to class after pulling a few nits out. I spent a half hour working on Sweetie 1, with mom's help, and then I thought she was good to go to class. I'll readily admit to not checking her that closely, but I wanted her back in class, and figured we'd put her hair up and at least if there were still nits, no one would see them. I brought her to her teacher at recess and started to walk away when Ms. Meanie called back for me, demanding to know "what's going on here." I told her I checked her and she was going to class, and the teacher picked through her hair, found a nit, and said, "See, this is a nit. This is not a flake. It doesn't just float away." She demonstrated, blowing on the child's head as if it were a birthday cake with a bunch of lit candles. Let me remind you, this is recess: all of first grade is out on that blacktop seeing that kid's head be blown on by this teacher. I was livid, but tried not to show it as I took Sweetie 1 back to my office.
An hour of nit-picking (I called in assistance for this part) later, she still had a couple left, and I had to go to my diabetics and my assistant was leaving: we failed. I couldn't even look Sweetie 1 in the eyes to tell her she was going home again. These kids want so badly to be at school and with their friends, and they are getting more sad every time I see them. It's heartbreaking.
Furious at having to enforce a policy I don't believe in, I called the nursing coordinator and spewed my anger to her. I told her I wanted to email our boss, and argue my case that this policy that needs to be changed. She was supportive, but I could hear her eyes roll: it's near impossible to get face time with our boss, and when do board policies get changed? I didn't care, and I emailed him asking for a policy change in the most eloquent way I could through a cloud of anger and frustration.
Shortly afterward, his response came: he agreed. So, shockingly, his secretary will be scheduling a meeting for us to meet and "review and revise policy." I called the coordinator to share the excitement, and she was as stunned at his agreeable response as I was. I really can hardly wait for this meeting.
On my three day weekend agenda: besides basking in the glory of starting the ball rolling on a board policy change, I need to pick up some goodies for the Sweeties at the Dollar Tree, because they deserve it.