Tuesday, July 12, 2005


The head lice policy in Queensland schools has left parents, teachers and doctors scratching their heads. They say discrimination laws are standing in the way of proper nit control. Under the State Government regulations, described as "political correctness gone mad", teachers no longer can separate an infected child from other students in the classroom. They can't even write to a parent to let them know their child is riddled with the annoying bugs.

The Department of Education guidelines state a student can be physically checked for head lice only if a parent agrees, the child does not object and "student privacy" is assured. But letters cannot be sent to the parents of individual nit sufferers - only a general warning letter sent home to all families.

"It is political correctness gone mad ... this interpretation of privacy laws is absolutely ridiculous," said Australian Medical Association Queensland president Steve Hambleton. "It's appalling. This is supposed to be for the benefit of little kids. Hiding behind the genuine letter of the law is wrong."

The nit policy has led to entire classes in some Queensland schools being infected throughout each school term. Some children are returning home with up to 20 adult nits in their hair.

Ipswich father Ian Connolly believes it is a case of allowing the minority to make life miserable for the majority of caring families. Mr Connolly said his daughter, Olivia, 6, who attended a western Brisbane school, was traumatised after constant infections of head lice during the past two years. "If the Government wants political correctness, then this is discrimination at its best," Mr Connolly said. "It's not the principals or the teachers who are at fault. All the principal of a school can do is send a (general) letter home to all parents. "It's World War III to try and treat the kids. They are so sick and tired of having their hair combed"

Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said teachers were frustrated by the outbreaks of head lice in schools. Mr Ryan said the policy gave strict guidelines on the role of teachers. "It can be frustrating when there is a lot of it (head lice) occurring in a particular time," he said.

Queensland Parents and Citizens Association spokesman Greg Donaldson said greater co-operation between parents and schools could solve continous outbreaks of head lice. "It's a fact of life. Unless there's good co-operation between the school administration, teachers and parents, it's not going to go away," he said.

An Education Queensland spokesman confirmed schools were not permitted to isolate or segregate students who might be affected by head lice. The spokesman said the most effective treatment for head lice was also one of the easiest for parents - the use of hair conditioner and a fine-toothed comb.

(The above article appeared in the Brisbane (Australia) "Sunday Mail" on July 10, 2005)


There's a new blog up that targets Morgan Spurlock, the anti-McDonalds huckster of "Supersize Me" fame. Using the spurious Spurlock as it's launchpad it makes some fascinating points against the Obesity police.

"Spurlock quotes someone from the "Vanerbilt University Online Wellness Center," who writes: "According to studies conducted by the American Cancer Society . . .more than 20 percent of all cancer deaths in women and 14 percent in men ar linked directly to being overweight. Another 33 percent of cancer deaths are linked to poor diet and physical inactivity . . . that's a lot of people dying needlessly." (p. 15) "

...If he had looked at the actual data , he'd have found some pretty striking contradictions. For example, the study found that among people the government classifies as of "healthy weight," there were 4.5 cancer deaths per 1,000 people. But get this: Among people the government classifies as "overweight," there were only 4.4! If you're worried about cancer, it's actually healthier to be overweight than of "healthy" weight. The difference may not be statistically significant but it is certainly in the "wrong" direction as far as the obesity warriors are concerned.

Paul Campos and others have also pointed out that the study's data shows that women who are extremely obese actually have a lower risk of cancer than men who are underweight. As the Center for Consumer Freedom has put it, if risk from fat is our barometer, Roseanne Barr is at lower risk of cancer than David Spade. The study also concedes that being overweight actually helps prevent brain cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, and melanoma."

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