Providing lice treatment keeps kids in school

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By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

PHOENIX -- Every year thousands of children miss school because of head lice. Teachers tell us it is especially bad in the winter when children share hats and jackets.

A local organization stepped up at Crockett Elementary, provided a simple solution and it's keeping kids in class and creating a better relationship with families.

"We have a percentage of those living in poverty,” said Crockett Principal, Sean Hannafin.  “Some living in shelters, we have a refugee population also, then neighborhood families that have lived here for 40 years."

Hannafin said the kids at his school have a lot of challenges, but one they share with every school in the Valley is lice.

"Yesterday a family showed up and talked about lice," he said.  "And because we have the medication, we were able to provide it and that student will be back at school tomorrow."

Crockett doesn’t have more lice than other schools, but it has parents who might not know how to treat it or they can't afford that treatment. 

"This is just one issue that kind of popped up," said Terri Wogan, Executive Director of Social Venture Partners. "We said, 'Hey, we've got this. We can do this!'"

Social Venture Partners is a group of business people who give their time and money to make schools like Crockett better.  They raised one thousand dollars last year to buy lice shampoo.

"The cost of the shampoo is what is a barrier keeping kids from coming back into school," Wogan said. "It goes from one family to another and they have no way of stopping it."

Hannafin said his students used to miss five to nine days because the family struggled to get rid of lice.

Now they can hand them shampoo and tell them how to get lice out of their homes.  And they open a door of communication with families who are often struggling.

"What we've seen out of that is students want to stay at Crockett even if they move to another school or district," Hannafin said. "They see we not only care about academics, but the whole child."

Social Venture Partners hopes to extend its support beyond Crockett to the entire Balsz School District.  It is raising $4,000 to buy more bottles of the shampoo and provide more education.

The crowd funding site can be found here.

Social Venture Partners website is: www.svpaz.org