School kids with lice--no dice?

Should the louse, that age-old creepy crawly elementary school pest, keep kids out of school? That's what a few school districts in Ohio are pondering. Some have strict "no nit" policies, insisting that kids can only return when all signs of lice are gone. Others take a more live and let live approach, permitting students to stay in class while being treated for their pesky visitors. The former will prevent the spread of lice while the latter will prevent missed school days. Which is preferable? Lice researcher Shirley Gordon of Florida Atlantic University warns that missing school because of lice can mean kids "stop getting invited to birthday parties and don't get invited to sleepovers anymore." But although "most parents don't want parasites on their children that bite and suck their blood," she explains, "it is not considered a public health threat." Pearls of wisdom indeed, but we're still wondering, how does one become a "lice researcher"?

"Schools wonder if it's worth losing class time over lice," by Jennifer Smith Richards, The Columbus Dispatch, November 12, 2008