September 17, 2023

Nancy Flanagan: Moms for Liberty Takes on Head Lice and Other Critical Issues

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Retired teacher Nancy Flanagan tries to make sense of a Moms for Liberty tweet about lice. Reposted with permission

It was one of the more convoluted of Moms for Liberty’s social media rants.

Posted on X (Twitter) on July 26 by Moms for Liberty:

What happens when your child gets sick at public school? Like if they have lice for example, does your child’s public school treat the lice? Or if they have a fever, does the school examine, diagnose and treat your child?

There were, as of today, 628 responses. And the first couple dozen were best described as “confused.”

First, there were the hostile parents who felt that schools were remiss in tending sick kids:

No in fact they don’t even want to give the kid an ibuprofen.

Our school district doesn’t check for lice, doesn’t send children with lice home, and doesn’t notify the parents if a child in their kid’s class has lice even if they’ve been notified of a case.

I have to “sneak” my kids cough drops, I am not allowed to send them to school with medicine and they confiscate them.

Then, there were the hostile parents who didn’t want the school to do anything when their own children were sick or injured:

How long til they wanna take that over too? It seems to me these “progressives” seem to view parents as simply payers & caretakers whereas they are the real parents who instill morals/values. It’s almost like the roles are backwards.

That’s when they trust the parents—when lice and vomit make their appearance. (Follow-up tweet from Tiffany Justice): That’s right.

These were followed by tweets by reasonable people (many of them teachers or school nurses) pointing out that the school does, in fact, have to do something to stop the spread of head lice and deal with other maladies:

For lice: They triage and isolate, stopping the spread. For other medical issues, they triage and make recommendations for next best steps for students health – including contacting parents.

Rural, small town (my hometown): We don’t treat lice (or bedbugs) but often help with treatment resources if needed. Kids cannot come back until they are nit-free. We do not “diagnose” or treat illness, but with consent can give OTC meds. Fevers sent home.

Most school districts no longer have nurses in school every day which is a problem. My son had a classmate with diabetes, the teacher had to be trained to help.

It took some time for the back-and-forth to identify what the original tweet was supposed to produce: anger over Joe Biden’s remarks about funding mental health care for kids, via their schools.

Aha. No mental health resources for kids. That’s the goal! Because… why again? Who could be against dedicating tax dollars toward something that pretty much everyone agrees is a burning issue, post-pandemic?

Do those on here miss the point- is that purposeful? Or are you really not getting it? Schools are not trained in healthcare or psychology & should have a very minor role in it.

Oh, honey.

Have you not been in a classroom— ever? Do you still think that teachers dispense agreed-upon, vetted knowledge to passive recipients? Do you think a desperately hurting teenager can suck it up and learn, damn it, without impacting other students?  And do you think mamas will come to school to pick up feverish, upchucking, scratching kids? Will they pick them up in time?

Our school nurse administered life-saving epinephrine to our son last year. I will forever be in her debt for her actions.

Fed up with all this pro-school, thanks-for-trying talk, a Mom for Faux Liberty finally got down to business:

The type of people who go into the public school system to teach and into the administration are very controlling. They are also anti-god and family and very unstable. That is why they think it’s perfectly acceptable to change your child’s gender without your permission.

I am a public school teacher. I am pro-God (not that it’s anybody’s business). I love my family and think families are the foundation of American society. I see gender health care as an issue between a child, their parents and their health care providers—far out of the purview of any school, beyond honoring a child’s wish to choose their own name. My emotional stability has been assessed by the thousands of students, thousands of parents and hundreds of professional colleagues over decades of practice.

And here’s the important part: Most teachers— upwards of 90%, I’d estimate—are like me. They have to be moderate and stable, in order to stay in the classroom. They keep any contentious values under cover. They want to help kids.

As the (noxious) bumper sticker says—they’re certainly not in it for the income. All of them have dealt with lice, vomit and broken bones, not to mention whatever the most recent incarnation of Moms seeking Control Liberty wants.

One more tweet that I found interesting: My mother worked in an elementary school in the office during the 80s & 90s. They were only allowed to take temperatures and provide necessary medication, which was approved and supplied by parents. If the child had a temp, the parents were called. The parents had rights then.

Well, exactly—except for the last sentence. This is what all school employees—secretaries, aides, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, administrators and even the lunch ladies—do, right now. They assess the kid in distress, administer allowed first aid, and call the parents. It’s not new. It’s common sense.

From Alfie Kohn:

So if pundits were throwing up their hands even during the Eisenhower era about schools on the decline and students who could barely read and write, the obvious question is this: When exactly was that golden period? The answer, of course, is that it never existed. “The story of declining school quality across the twentieth century is, for the most part, a fable,” says social scientist Richard Rothstein, who cites a series of similar attacks on American education, moving backward one decade at a time. Each generation invokes the good old days, during which, we discover, people had been doing exactly the same thing.

But now—we have social media to spread the vitriol.

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