Steps in the Right Direction
1 year ago admin 0
Some big changes have happened in a not so big way at the middle school, and it’s having a big impact. Middle school brings about a lot of changes; from school, to social settings, to even how your body functions. Everything changes. These changes are completely out of your control and sometimes can be a little embarrassing to talk about at such a young age. Girls especially have a hard time adjusting to the changes in their body. Message to all girls: PERIODS ARE NOT BAD.
According to dignityperiod.org, periods are heavily stigmatized due to lack of education. Young girls really don’t get to learn about what is considered normal and healthy for periods, especially if they don’t have any sisters or a maternal figure present. But the key to ending the stigma about periods is to educate them. Boys as well. If talking to a room full of 16 year old boys about periods, results in them saying “YIKES!” and trying to get out of the situation something needs to change. Boys aren’t taught about periods unless they talk to their mom or sister about it. This increases the stigma around periods.
More than 800 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating worldwide on a daily basis, according to one.org but in the U.S. it’s actually becoming the “norm” to start at an earlier age, starting as young as 11 years old, according to CNN. So right around the time you’re starting middle school, something else is starting as well.
Bringing it back to home, Shawnee Heights Middle School now has a program that offers free sanitary pads in all bathrooms for easier access for the student population.
“Any girl can walk down to the health room and get a sanitary pad, but putting them in the bathroom machines will place them in a convenient location instead.” Principal Tim Urich said. According to Mr, Urich, eighth grade social studies teacher Karen Stockwell brought it up to the Building Leadership Board, sort of as a way to end the stigma that periods are embarrassing. This program will be funded by the district. Technically, the school can ask for donations, but since the machines can only hold a certain size box of pads, the middle school has decided against it.
“The program right now is fully expanded, as far as space. The next thing would probably be more of an educational element.” Mr. Urich says in regard to thoughts of expansion.
“The middle school does offer a human development module, but it’s strictly clinical in case of parental preference.”
The female population at the middle school has responded really well to this new program. It has been noted that the machines are being used frequently and there have been less visits to the health room for pads.
“The middle school will not offer tampons mainly because of parental preference, but TSS [Toxic Shock Syndrome] is also a concern.” Mr. Urich said.
This program, like many others that are going to schools across the nation, are meant to help girls feel more comfortable with the changes in their body, and become more comfortable with their periods. They are nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of.
“My first thought, when this was brought to me, was that females could always go to the health room for pads, why would I do this?” Urich said.“But then, I thought, I should not only support the female students and staff, ultimately it’s the respectful thing to do.”