How to Sue a School Over Head Lice

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Head lice are every parent's nightmare. When your children come home from school itchy with little white nits in their hair, you have to react. Everyone in the family has to use medicated treatments, wash their clothes, wash linens, clean and vacuum. If inconvenience turns to recurring epidemic, however, you might have a lawsuit against your school district. In most states, public schools have mandates to undertake head lice control procedures--screening children and warning parents.

  • Review your state and school district's laws and policies on head lice control in public schools. These vary considerably by state. Some mandate "no nit" policies, which send children with lice home; others allow children to return so long as they are being treated.

  • Get information on your school's lice control procedures. Understand what measures are in place and examine if the school is performing its duties to the standard required by the state and school district. Failure to comply with regulations and properly execute protocols can be grounds for a lawsuit if your child and family are harmed by it.

  • Document your lice infestations and treatments. Consulting or seeing a family physician will ensure a credible medical expert documents and can corroborate your story. Additionally, taking photographs of your lice infestation--on family members heads and in any clothing or linens will help as well, particularly if the photos are dated.

  • Bring your concerns to your school principal and school district officials. If you do not give school officials an opportunity to remedy the problem, then you will not have grounds for a lawsuit.

  • Consult an attorney experienced in education or health issues. Your attorney can advise your of the strength of your case. You will have to establish that your school or district are negligent in performing their duties. A singular case of lice brought home probably won't move a court to act. Good school lice control procedures involve screening kids for lice and making parents aware of the problem and how to take action. Schools cannot guarantee children will never pick up lice. Repeated cases because of lice turned epidemic, however, will hold more weight in court.

  • File and prepare your civil suit. Be prepared to counter arguments that the federal No Child Left Behind Act pressures school districts to reduce absences and has been responsible for the erosion of "no nit" policies. Also consider that many county and state health departments, including those in Kentucky, are not required to support schools in controlling lice infestations. Schools may claim limited resources limit their lice-control capacities.

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