It must be high up on the anxiety list of any headmaster — the last thing the school needs is another infestation…
It’s been some time since my son (now 7) came home with the usual nit letter. I’m not complacent though, I’m sure it will happen again (several times probably) before he leaves them behind and moves on to secondary school.
It is usually in primary school (age up to 12) that children suffer head lice most often. It’s nothing to do with physical size, or childhood body chemistry. It’s everything to do with childish behaviour — unabashed huddling and cuddling. Boys and girls are equally exuberant in the playground, and equally enthusiastic as they snuggle up together to pore over the shared school table to read, or write or chat. Long gone are the stern days when individual children sat at single well-spaced desks, staring in silence at the blackboard at the front of the class.
Two things happen when children go off to secondary school. First, if they have suffered head lice in the past, their families may have have got the hang of control by now. Secondly, they begin to take responsibility for their own grooming. Combing is still the easiest and best way to control head lice, and even without a fine-toothed comb, brushing and combing can still dislodge, damage or remove head lice enough to break or prevent infestation.
Head louse infestations in secondary school are few and far between, but that still doesn’t stop head lice being used to theatrical effect. Even Hogwarts has an outbreak.
The Harry Potter Puppet Pals have become a bit of an internet sensation, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that lice should invade their table-top version of Hogwarts. Weasley has an affliction.
Dumbledore gets it right: “Lice are magical creatures”.
Indeed, they are, but I’m not sure about Hagrid’s folksy treatment. His name is not, after all, synonymous with grooming.
The mayonnaise might work though….