Meet the South Shields mum petitioning to bring back the ‘nit nurse’ to schools

Tracy Rutter, who has launched a petition to bring nit nurses back into school
Tracy Rutter, who has launched a petition to bring nit nurses back into school

A frustrated mum who is pulling her hair out over head lice has launched a petition to bring back the ‘nit nurse’.

Tracy Rutter says she is fed up with her two daughters catching the itchy pests, cleaning their hair and sending them back to school, only for the cycle to begin again.

Tracy is fed up with the ongoing head lice problems

Tracy is fed up with the ongoing head lice problems

The 47-year-old from Biddick Hall, South Shields, has now decided to launch a petition to try and get ‘nit nurses’ reinstated back in schools.

Mrs Rutter said: “It’s so frustrating and not very nice. I spend hours checking and cleaning my children’s hair.

“I make sure it’s tied up and I send them back to school and before you know it, they’ve caught head lice again..

“Myself and some of the other parents are getting fed up now, as some children aren’t having their heads checked, so the problem is just going to keep on happening.

It’s so frustrating and not very nice.

Tracy Rutter

“When I was at school the nit nurse came, checked everyone and you were sent home with a letter so parents knew they had to do something.

“This doesn’t happen now and I think that’s why it’s an ongoing issue.”

Mrs Rutter is also keen to inform parents that products to get rid of the nits are free from the chemist.

She said: “Parents can’t even say the stuff is expensive, they can get it for free, so there’s no excuse really to not be checking your child’s hair.

“The school’s hands are tied, they can’t send out letters to specific individuals, sometimes they might say there’s another epidemic of headlice on the bottom of their newsletters, but that’s about all they can do.

“I know it’s probably a long shot with my petition, but you never know - it might work.”

However, council bosses say that while school nurses can offer head lice advice, they need to have their skills used in the most appropriate way.

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “School nurses are highly qualified professionals and we need to use their skills in the most appropriate way.

“Our school nurses also work in partnership with colleagues from across health, education and social care and work with some of our most vulnerable young people to help them reach their full potential.

“School nurses focus on the health priorities that will make the most difference to children and young people’s health in South Tyneside.

“These form the priorities set out in our Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Children and Families Plan.

“Some of these priorities include improving the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people, promoting health weight in young people and administer immunisations such as HPV.

“While they don’t deal with head lice specifically, they can offer advice to concerned parents and carers, however, it’s important that parents and carers support the work of school nurses by taking responsibility and regularly checking their children for head lice.”

Local pharmacists can offer treatment for head lice through the Think Pharmacy First scheme and further information about head lice can be found at http://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx.

To sign Mrs Rutter’s petition visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/193770/sponsors/oCSntvOosstgwK1J6pe.