The poverty effect: Schools must deal with student personal hygiene issues

23 Nov

As children head back to school, parents want to make sure that their children have not only the proper school supplies like paper and pencils, but proper hygiene habits as well. There are a couple of reasons why proper hygiene is important. The first reason is proper hygiene makes your child more pleasant to be around for the teacher and other children. The current economic climate is making families and charities make some tough choices when it comes to deciding what to purchase. According to National Kids Count:

Data Provided by:
• National KIDS COUNT

Location Data Type 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
United States Number 13,241,000 14,657,000 15,749,000 16,387,000 16,397,000

Percent 18% 20% 22% 23% 23%
Definitions: The share of children under age 18 who live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The federal poverty definition consists of a series of thresholds based on family size and composition. In calendar year 2012, a family of two adults and two children fell in the “poverty” category if their annual income fell below $23,283. Poverty status is not determined for people in military barracks, institutional quarters, or for unrelated individuals under age 15 (such as foster children). The data are based on income received in the 12 months prior to the survey.
Data Source: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Supplementary Survey, 2001 Supplementary Survey, 2002 through 2012 American Community Survey.
The data for this measure come from the 2000 and 2001 Supplementary Survey and the 2002 through 2012 American Community Survey (ACS). The 2000 through 2004 ACS surveyed approximately 700,000 households monthly during each calendar year. In general but particularly for these years, use caution when interpreting estimates for less populous states or indicators representing small sub-populations, where the sample size is relatively small. Beginning in January 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded the ACS sample to 3 million households (full implementation), and in January 2006 the ACS included group quarters. The ACS, fully implemented, is designed to provide annually updated social, economic, and housing data for states and communities. (Such local-area data have traditionally been collected once every ten years in the long form of the decennial census.)
Footnotes:Updated September 2013.
S – Estimates suppressed when the confidence interval around the percentage is greater than or equal to 10 percentage points. N.A. – Data not available.
Data are provided for the 50 most populous cities according to the most recent Census counts. Cities for which data is collected may change over time.
A 90 percent confidence interval for each estimate can be found at Children in poverty.,867,133,38,35/any/321,322

Kids in poverty create social issues in schools which must be dealt with in a compassionate way.

Charlene Sakota wrote in the article, Pre-K teacher sends note complaining about students’ ‘unpleasant smells’:

Some parents of students at the B.U.I.L.D. Academy in Buffalo, New York had complaints of their own after receiving a handwritten complaint letter from their children’s pre-kindergarten teacher. The note sent home with some students read in part, “Several children in Pre-K ages 3-4 are coming to school (sometimes daily) with soiled, stained, or dirty clothes. Some give off unpleasant smells and some appear unclean and unkept.” The teacher went on asking that parents address the matter as, “It is a health and safety concern. It also makes it difficult for me to be close to them or even want to touch them. Enough said.”
It’s a message that has many outraged saying that the teacher needs to exercise more compassion as an educator in the Buffalo community, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2007-2011 had 29.9% of its population living below the poverty level. Others said that the situation warranted a phone call to the parents or a school social worker. As reported by WIVB News 4, the teacher’s note was sent without the principal’s permission and the school’s nurse is equipped with clean clothes for any student to wear should they need them.
Kimberly Wells found the note in her granddaughter’s backpack. “The first thing she asked me is, ‘Do my teacher think I stink?’ I told her, ‘No, you don’t,'” the grandmother said. Understandably, Kimberly was upset with how the situation was handled telling WKBW Eyewitness News, “She’s teaching the kids how to segregate other kids. You’re showing how to outnumber another child. That’s not right. That’s not what we’re in school for. That could have been, hell, she could have called the parent on the phone. She could have had a meeting at the school face-to-face.” Kimberly also told WIVB that she attempted to address the teacher about the issue, “I did try to talk to the teacher about this and she didn’t want to hear nothing I had to say….”
The letter was brought up in a recent school board meeting however no decisions were made to reprimand the pre-K teacher. Mary Ruth Kaspiak of the school board said, “We must do things to help our students. We can’t do things to discourage them and we don’t want to send out mixed messages.”
Kimberly doesn’t want to see her granddaughter’s teacher fired, but wants her to know that letters like the one she sent are inappropriate. Enough said.’-‘unpleasant-smells’-201931723.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Perhaps, the most important reason is proper hygiene helps to develop healthy self-esteem in your child. This doesn’t mean that your child must be a Vogue fashionista at five, but that your child should be clean and presentable with no body odors. WebMD.Com has an excellent article by R. Morgan Griffin, Teen Hygiene Tips:

“Parents too often assume that 10- or 11-year-olds will somehow naturally learn what they need to know about hygiene,” says Wibbelsman. “But that’s not true. Someone has to teach them.”
Kids with poor hygiene face consequences. Some are medical: they may be more prone to developing rashes and infections. But equally important, they may quickly become known at school for being dirty. That sort of bad rep can be hard to shake and damaging to self-esteem.
Showering. “Most elementary school kids don’t shower every day, and they don’t need to,” says Tanya Remer Altmann, MD,a pediatrician and author of Mommy Calls and The Wonder Years. But she says that once puberty hits, daily showering becomes essential. Recommend that they use a mild soap and concentrate on the face, hands, feet, underarms, groin and bottom. Washing under the fingernails is key, too.
Washing hair. Discuss the pros and cons of daily hair washing. Some teens may prefer to skip days to prevent their hair from drying out. Others may want to wash their hair daily — especially if they have oily hair, which can both look greasy and aggravate acne.
Using deodorant or antiperspirant. Your kid has always had plenty of working sweat glands. But when puberty hits, the glands become more active and the chemical composition of the sweat changes, causing it to smell stronger. When you or your kid begin to notice it, using deodorant or an antiperspirant should become part of their daily teen hygiene.
Changing clothes. Before puberty, your kid might have gotten away with wearing the same shirt — or even the same underwear and same socks — day after day without anyone noticing. After puberty, that won’t fly. Get your teen to understand that along with showering, wearing clean clothes each day is an important part of teen hygiene. Point out that cotton clothes may absorb sweat better than other materials.
Preventing acne. Altmann says that at around age 10, it makes sense for your teen to start washing his or her face twice a day. “Plenty of kids don’t have any acne problems at that age, but getting in the habit early is smart,” Altmann says. Make sure your teen understands not to wash too vigorously, even if her skin is oily. Trying to scrub off the oil will just leave the skin cracked and irritated.
Shaving and hair removal. When you notice hair on your son’s upper lip or on your daughter’s legs, you can offer a brief course on razor use. Whether or not he or she wants to shave yet, at least you’ve provided the information. Girls may also be interested in hair removal products. You can go over the options. Your daughter may also need some reassurance; stray facial hairs that loom large when she’s an inch away from the mirror may not be visible to anyone else.
Maintaining good oral health. Teens can get pretty lax about their oral hygiene. But brushing and flossing are crucial, especially if they’re drinking coffee and sugary, acidic sodas and sports drinks. It’s not only about tooth decay. Bad oral hygiene leads to bad breath — and that’s something that no teen wants, Altmann tells WebMD.
Understanding the body. If you’re talking about good teen hygiene, that also means talking about puberty. Girls need to know about breast development and menstruation. Boys need to know about erections and wet dreams. Don’t tiptoe around these subjects. If they don’t get the info from you, they’ll get some distorted version of it from their peers. You may find that giving your kids a good book on the subject — or pointing them to reputable health web sites — may help the conversation.

Because of the economy, many family budgets are stretched. In this author’s opinion, money should be spent on good fitting shoes and families can save on the clothing budget by buying children’s clothing at places like Value Village, Goodwill, Target and J.C. Penney. The E.Podiatry. Com site discusses the importance of correct fitting children’s shoes in the article,

Children’s Footwear
Importance of the shoe to the child:
Poorly fitting children’s shoes can cause a number of problems in adults such as hammer toes, ingrown toenails, foot corns, calluses and bunions. Given the high level of pain and discomfort that these problems can cause, it is obviously logical to attempt to prevent these problems by ensuring that the child’s shoe is fitted appropriately. Foot problems in children are usually preventable.
Fitting footwear for the child:
The most important factor in shoes for a child is that they fit. Preferably, this means that shoes are fitted by someone who has had some special training in the fitting of children’s footwear.
Advice for the fitting of a child’s footwear:
Children should have their feet measured about every 3 months (thus ensuring the need for new shoes as required).
Generally, for a shoe to be correctly fitted, there should be a thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of
the longest toe.
When looking at the bottom (sole) of the shoe, it should be relatively straight (not curved in too much) – the foot is
straight, so the shoe should be straight.
The fastening mechanism (laces, velcro, buckles) should hold the heel firmly in the back of the shoe (the foot should
not be able to slide forward in the shoe).
The heel counter (back part of the shoe) should be strong and stable.
The shoe should be flexible across the ball of the foot, as this is where the foot bends. The shoe should not bend
where the foot does not bend (ie in the arch area).
Leather and canvas are a better material – they are more durable and can breathe. Synthetic materials do not breathe
as well, unless they are of the ‘open weave’ type. Avoid plastics.
Check that the shoes have rounded toe boxes to give the toes more room to move.
An absorbent insole is helpful, as the foot can sweat a lot – children are very active!
A number of retail stores specialize in footwear for the child – use them! Fitting footwear properly in adults is also just
as important.

Money should be spent on quality footwear, parents can economize elsewhere.

The Budget Fashionista has some excellent tips about How to Shop A Thrift Store:

1. Go to Where the Rich People Live. Head to a wealthy area, as you can often find awesome
items donated by people who, for whatever reason, can’t be seen in an item twice. Their
excess is your treasure.
2. Wear tight fitting clothing. Many thrift stores do not have fitting rooms, so unless you want everyone looking at your goodies, wear tight fitting clothing like leggings and tank tops, so you can try on items quickly and somewhat modestly.
3. Start small. Purchase accessories and basic clothing items like jeans. Once you become a seasoned thrifter, then you can go into coats, blazers, etc.
4. Do a smell test. It an item is musty and has strange odor in the shop, it will probably be very difficult to get the smell out. Note: it’s nearly impossible to get musty smells out of synthetic fabrics like rayon, and acrylic.
5. Make Friends with the Sales Associate. Ask sales staff when they put their new stuff out and/or the best day to shop. The early bird really does get the worm (or.. prada) when it comes to shopping a thrift store.
6. Clean Your Purchases. Clean the item when you get home. Donated items aren’t always cleaned before they are donated. I know this has sparked alot of controversy, but I disinfect my thrift store purchases before wearing them.

See, also 23 Must Know Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

Sometimes it is left to the classroom teacher to discuss hygiene issues with a student. Dr. Ken Shore’s article Poor Hygiene describes some strategies teachers can use when dealing with hygiene issues.

Talk privately with a student with poor hygiene. Help the student understand that poor hygiene can cause illnesses, and that it can cause other children to avoid her. Talk with her about the basics of good hygiene; then zero in on her particular areas of need. You may need to give the student very specific instructions for good hygiene, and to teach behaviors we take for granted in most children. If you are uncomfortable talking with the student about those issues, you might ask the school nurse to meet with her.
Monitor the student’s hygiene. Provide the student with a checklist of hygiene activities she should do on a daily basis, such as taking a shower or bath, washing her hair, brushing her teeth, combing her hair, putting on clean clothes, and so on. Have the student write those behaviors in a notebook, and tell her that those tasks are part of her homework assignment. For the first couple of weeks, meet privately with the student for a few minutes every morning to review how well she did her “homework,” and praise her for any additional evidence of good hygiene.
Have some hygiene items handy in the classroom. You may find that a student with poor hygiene does not have some basic hygiene items at home. For occasions like those, keep a variety of basic items — such as brushes, combs, tissue, soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, and toothpaste — in your desk. Let the student know that she can take what she needs as long as she makes good use of them. Check to make sure the student knows how to use the items.
Work out a private signal to cue a student who is picking her nose. Few behaviors turn off peers more quickly than a student who picks her nose. If you have a child who is a frequent nose picker, meet with her privately and let her know that other children find this behavior unpleasant and may avoid her as a result. Tell the student that she needs to use a tissue instead and provide her with a pack of tissues to keep in her desk. Work out with the student a subtle, non-verbal signal to alert her when she begins to pick her nose.


1. Printable Material on Hygiene for Children

2. Personal Hygiene, Taking Care of Your Body

3. Hygiene Basics

4. The Thrift Shopper.Com

Good hygiene is an essential part of a child being ready to learn.

Moi came across Tips for Success in Room 12 Actually, these tips are good inside and outside of Room 12.
Tips For Success in Room 12:

Come to school with all your work completed, or be ready to ask
questions about what you did not understand. Be ready to learn!
Come into the classroom with a “can do” spirit, not a “can’t do” attitude.
Knowledge is power and attitude is everything.
Be an active learner, be an active listener.
Try your best.
Don’t give up!
Be a student of excellence.
Come to school ready to be the best you can be.
Learn from your mistakes.
Be nice to everyone and treat others the way you want to be treated.
Don’t put other people (or yourself) down!
Think about this: What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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