Harvard seems to take the view that diversity should not be limited to race, class, or religion, but should also include insect load. "[T]he no-nits policies are imprudent, as they are based on intolerance, hysteria and misinformation," says its Web site. Harvard has a Postmodernist approach to lice, treating them as a sort of political construct. Their Web site says most of the lice sent to it for evaluation were actually "artifacts" such as "dandruff, "scabs," or "other insects" blown into the hair (maybe my husband isn't so cockamamie after all). It says fear of lice-borne disease in the past caused "atrocious and perverse campaigns to quarantine and assault unpopular ethnic groups suspected of promoting risk" and that sending home supposedly, or even actually, infested children today is a vestige of those times.
On the ruthless side is the National Pediculosis Association (pediculosis is the medical term for lice infestation), which believes head lice are thriving now because of weak and inconsistent policies regarding their control. The organization's president, Deborah Z. Altschuler, also warns that any bloodsucking human parasite has the potential to become a vector for new diseases, and that we should be more vigilant in our efforts to contain lice.
Maybe, if the LouseBuster, a hair-blowing and louse-killing device invented by University of Utah scientists, goes into commercial production, we can finally vanquish this scourge. Until then, I've got our nit combs carefully wrapped and hidden away. I'm not going to stop putting my head on my daughter's pillow just because she may have some lousy friends.