Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Backpack

I used to love it when my daughter would come home from preschool so that I could go through her backpack and pull out her lovely artwork as well as notes from the teacher.

Now that I have children who are in elementary school, I no longer look forward to emptying the backpack. It contains all sorts of goodies: acorns, rocks, half eaten food, broken pencils, etc. Not to mention all the papers: homework papers, PTO newsletter, reminders, fundraisers, study guides, etc. It rarely contains anything exciting.

Yesterday I opened the backpack to find 3 letters (mass mailing) from the school nurse. The first one said there has been a school-wide outbreak of pink eye. It gave details on what to look for and how to treat it. The second letter warned of a school-wide outbreak of strep throat. The third letter discussed the outbreak of lice. I am intimately familiar with all these illnesses so I didn't bother to read the details.

A little while later I got a call from a panicked friend (as I am now the lice expert). When she read the details of the lice letter she freaked out because the attachment to the letter starts out with: Evidence of lice infestation has been found on your child. I took a look at the letter and realized that although it was sent to every child, it was really meant for children who actually HAVE lice and it provided guidelines on ridding your children and your house of the the lice.

This document was sent to EVERY family at my children's school!!! 600 children came home from school with a letter saying they have lice!!! Can you IMAGINE how many panicked parents ran right out to the store to by RID (lice shampoo) and are driving themselves crazy over this when their children do not even have lice?! I assured my friend that it was a mass mailing and that her son did NOT have lice. I assured her that the school would CALL her IMMEDIATELY and make her pick-up her son if he really had lice. They would NOT just send him home with a note. Unfortunately I know too much about lice and dealing with the school nurse.

Couldn't they have sent a letter that said, "If you detect lice on your child . . . " or something like that? Or used white-out to block that sentence from the letter? What an oversight!! I am sure the principal will be inundated with calls from angry parents today. Oh my. Glad I'm not a principal. (Maybe I'll talk about that sometime in a future post.)

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