Elementary school mom, Theresa Rice, has had one too many run-ins with head lice.

She says in the past 17 days, her eight-year-old daughter has come home with lice three different times, which means hours of cleaning for her.

"It's disgusting. I hate it; they're blood sucking vermin. I can't stand them," says Rice. "Takes four hours just to do her hair. You have to clean your beds, your floors, your couches, your chairs; everything has to be cleaned."

She asked school officials why children with lice were not being sent home to prevent them from spreading, as in years past.

"We changed our policy in the fall to reflect exactly what the Tennessee Department of Education and the Center for Disease Control recommended," Hamilton County School Health Program Manager, Sheryl Rogers says.

Lice do not carry disease which means they're more of a hindrance than anything else.

"What happened was the state realized a lot of the truancy, the issues we're dealing with truancy was things like head lice," explains Rogers.

It means the responsibility to prevent and treat lice falls on parents like Rice.

"It's just other parents not treating their children seems to be a big issue," says Rogers.

"Its not a sin to get it, it's a sin to keep it," explains Rice. "If you can't get rid of it, there's a problem. You need to do something."

To treat lice school officials recommend following box top treatment instructions exactly, switch products if one is not working. Lice could become immune. Once treatment is finished, pin long hair up and off the shoulders and if possible make sure your child uses individual cubbies at school and refrains from sharing.
"They should not miss school because of head lice," explains Rogers.

She says while it is a nuisance, lice has been around for thousands of years and they'll be around for thousands more.

"Noah got off the Ark and head lice got off with him," says Rogers.