Keeping schools safe through period-monitoring

As a security measure, a school in upstate New York, has banned students from carrying bags (backpacks, purses anything). Unless you’re a menstruating girl, that is. Need some clarification? So did I.

A student at Tri-Valley High School was called out of class by a security guard during a school sweep last week to make sure no kids had backpacks or other banned bags.
Samantha Martin, 14, had a small purse with her that day.
That’s why the security guard, ex-Monticello cop Mike Bunce, asked her The Question.
She says he told her she couldn’t have a purse unless she had her period. Then he asked, “Do you have your period?”
Samantha was mortified.

Apparently, there was a school rumor (not an actual rule) that girls could only carry small bags or purses if they had their periods. So security guards starting pulling girls out of classes, or questioning them in the hallways, about whether they were menstruating or not. Real appropriate.
What’s heartening, though, is that the students aren’t taking this crap without a fight.

Girls have worn tampons on their clothes in protest, and purses made out of tampon boxes. Some boys wore maxi-pads stuck to their shirts in support.
After hearing that someone might have been suspended for the protest, freshman Hannah Lindquist, 14, went to talk to {Principal Robert] Worden. She wore her protest necklace, an OB tampon box on a piece of yarn. She said Worden confiscated it, talked to her about the code of conduct and the backpack rule — and told her she was now “part of the problem.”

Yeah, girls who don’t want creepy security guards knowing about their cycles are huge problems. Soon, they’ll expect things like basic respect and privacy rights!
h/t to Shannon.

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58 Comments

  1. Luna
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Geez. How ridiculous. Good for them for standing up for their rights!
    I have a daughter in middle school, and though she’s not menstruating yet, I am a little concerned about how this issue will be handled. They’re not allowed backpacks or purses at their desks, and only are allowed to go to their lockers twice a day. She’s NOT the kind of kid with a lot of forethought, nor does she have the confidence to stand up for herself (Drives me NUTS). Shit… I smell a discussion coming. *sigh*
    Oh well, this is a good heads up for me. I never even considered this problem.
    I remember in Gr8 not being allowed to go to the bathroom (I had the blood running down my leg problem) because “There are only 10 minutes left until lunch”. I said, “Yes, but I need to go NOW” and when I was told I could wait, I said, “No, I really can’t. I’m going now.” And I left. Of course, she laid into me when I got back, and when I explained the problem, she said, “You should have said so!” *snort* In front of the guys? Are you kidding me? The sexual harassment from them was bad enough. They did not need new fodder. And I told her so. She said that was ridiculous. It was perfectly natural, and the boys would have to get over it. Not likely in my opinion.
    Unfortunately, my opinion didn’t matter and she decided to ANNOUNCE IT TO THE CLASS! She said, “if any girl needs to go to the bathroom because she has her period, like *my name* did this morning, she is to say so”.
    Yeah. I got pantsed that day about 4 times.

  2. Posted September 30, 2007 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    ProfLindquist:
    Be sure to let us know if there’s anything we can do to help – and congratulations, it sounds like you’ve done a great job with Hannah. : )

  3. Mina
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    “I have a daughter in middle school, and though she’s not menstruating yet, I am a little concerned about how this issue will be handled. They’re not allowed backpacks or purses at their desks, and only are allowed to go to their lockers twice a day.”
    I suspect that some of the admins miss the “good old days” when and where leaders weren’t pressed to think about this because people who menstruated rarely went to school or work outside the home in the first place…

  4. Posted October 1, 2007 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Personally, crimes, and sexual ones, are caused by – I think, men with hard-ons.
    I hardly see any security guards pulling a 6’3 280 man aside, asking him if he’s got a hard-on.
    Although I think that might be amusing!

  5. gothchiq
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    omg. Looks like all the girls are going to have to get a DivaCup. :(
    Not that that helps if you don’t know exactly when you are going to start. What a bunch of assholes those school admins are.
    Whose period is only 4 days? When I had them, they sometimes lasted 10.

  6. Kimmy Young
    Posted November 29, 2007 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    WHAT? who would have thought that a school would have to come to something like this? I would just as much do what these young ladies did if i was told that i could not bring a purse or backpack to school unless i was on my period.
    my concern is for those students that my need their backpacks for other reasons. would the school begin to confiscate lunch boxes too? things can be hidden in these as well.
    how inappropriate it is also, for these young women to be forced to talk about their periods just to save themselves from a problem by needing pads/tampons.
    menstruation is a fact of life and how horrible it is to call these youths out just because they need to bring some sort of purse to school.

  7. Maria
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    What these girls and their guy sympathizers are doing is nothing short of amazing. They are an inspiration to other young women such as myself. I salute them!

  8. susanb
    Posted July 22, 2009 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    we definitely need to keep kids safe. this is such a must.
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