Concerned students place free feminine products in restrooms
Alex Lisa | Staff Writer
Periods aren’t just the end of a sentence, they can be unpredictable and uncomfortable for young women at Mason High School. Members of MHS Hope Squad are trying to come to the rescue.
In the past, there were machines located in the bathrooms which would dispense feminine products for 50 cents, and in the case of an urgent need there were supplies in the nurse’s office, but these have been problematic.
That is, until the start of second semester, when a baskets of feminine products were placed in multiple restrooms, open for girls to use as needed. Senior Taylor Kiss, along with other Hope Squad members, drafted the email which sparked this change. Kiss said the email was a result of girls facing negative experiences when getting products from the nurse’s office.
“There was a girl who came into class really upset,” Kiss said. “She was crying, and she had gotten her period early and didn’t have anything, and when she went down to the nurses they asked her a bunch of questions about why she wasn’t prepared, why she let it happen, and just made an embarrassing situation a lot worse.”
After finding out what the issue was, many other girls joined in the conversation with experiences of their own asking for products from the nurses.
“Everyone had experienced the same thing, or heard of someone experiencing it, and we all decided that really wasn’t going to cut it anymore,” Kiss said. “I drafted an email, and everyone around me during that class read it and pitched in, and then I sent it to Mrs. Bumiller. She got back to me with this solution, and said she is trying to start up a pilot program.”
Kiss said that, despite the fact that the questions girls are asked can feel intrusive or interrogative, she understands why thenurses have to be skeptical when handing out products.
“There are obviously people who just use it as an excuse to miss class,” Kiss said. “Even now, with the baskets, I know that there are people who are abusing it. But for those who are actually dealing with a crisis, they’re not trying to miss class just to get out of the situation.”
Freshman Kaya Rossey, who was the student who sparked the initial conversation when she came into Kiss’s class, said the baskets are a great solution that solve many of the issues at hand.
“I was just really unprepared for the questions, and I know a lot of other girls are,” Rossey said. “School is really public and this is happening in front of everyone, and so you’re already a little emotional. With the baskets, you don’t have to pay for products, and you also don’t have to answer the question of ‘why weren’t you prepared.’”
Senior Savannah Quach said the unpredictability of periods is influenced by many factors which should not force girls to know when their period will come.
“Stress, lack of sleep, messed up eating habits, synching up with other girls, there’s so much that can make a period come early,” Quach said. “Every girl has been caught off guard by their period before, and it’s a really bad position to be in. That’s why we’re all so eager to support one another.”
Quach said the embarrassment associated with periods is something that girls should begin to combat. Since it is a major factor of every girl’s life, she does not think girls should hide the fact that they have it, or the issues that come with it.
“Even going to the bathroom, girls try to hide tampons up their sleeve and there’s no reason for it,” Quach said. “The baskets are a great help, because they help to normalize it. All of a sudden, it’s like using toilet paper, and no one’s going to fault you for having it happen. No one should be ashamed of any aspect of their body, least of all something as natural as this.”
Photo by Alex Lisa.