The male principal claimed that students would "abuse the privilege" if the school provided free tampons.
It is criminal that, in 2019, we're still debating whether menstrual products should be considered a necessity at schools. Free tampons at school help those with access to fewer resources to not skip school because of their period. Access to tampons in schools is a basic necessity but a male middle school principal decided against the idea when 7th-grade students asked for free tampons in their school bathroom. The principal said that they would 'abuse the privilege' if tampons were distributed for free, according to a report by Yahoo Lifestyle. And also, how does one 'abuse the privilege' of having access to free tampons?
My friend’s 7th grader goes to a school where the kids organized for free tampons in the bathroom. The male principle said no because they would “abuse the privilege.” The kids decided to stage a cookie protest. Behold the tampon cookies! pic.twitter.com/jz2KtbhOhS— ilyse hogue (@ilyseh) October 30, 2019
Maybe they'll have an extra period just so they can take more???— Stray Political Cat🆘️ (@StrayPolitical) October 30, 2019
Only a dude would think tampons are a privilege.— Kelly🐝🐘🐯🐙 (@dogslovebeto) October 30, 2019
Not willing to take no for an answer, students organized an innovative protest by making baked tampon-shaped cookies. National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) president and activist Ilyse Hogue shared an image of the tampon-themed cookies on Twitter lauded them for their effort. She tweeted: My friend’s 7th grader goes to a school where the kids organized for free tampons in the bathroom. The male principle said no because they would ‘abuse the privilege.’ The kids decided to stage a cookie protest. Behold the tampon cookies!”
Privilege is never knowing what it’s like to be caught in public without a tampon when you need one.— kristin treado (@krtmd) October 30, 2019
Ilyse Hogue's tweet and the image of the tampon cookies went viral with many praising their students for taking the fight to the authorities. The girls behind the protest announced that the protest had the desired effect and made a statement at their own personalized website: This is the Revolutionary Girls' Baking Society. We are three middle school friends who believe no woman or girl should be shamed by her period. She should feel confident and not secretive. It should just be the norm. Because it is. After our cookie protest, our principal and the school board are now working to make sure every girl in our town will have the products they need readily available so no girl misses a day of school. We are very grateful that the school has taken our action seriously and is making a change. Feminine hygiene is not a luxury or a privilege, and not having tampons and pads is a barrier to every girl’s education.
Claire Coder, the founder of Aunt Flow, an organization that provides menstrual products at school, supported the students' protest. “I appreciate that the students did speak out for this necessity. I love that they continued forward even when someone said no. No is not an answer anymore. That was remarkable of them.” Coder said that the access to tampons in school is "not just an amenity — it’s a necessity.”
Fantastic! These girls have really hit on the perfect balance of activism, peaceful protest, and my favorite, snark!— Zoe (@Zoe_of_Elyon) October 30, 2019
Coder also said it was important to stock tampon supplies in the bathroom, a practice not followed everywhere. “That’s a problem when you get your period, especially unexpectedly. You don’t want to leave the bathroom, go all the way to the nurse’s office, and then all the way back to the bathroom,” Coder says. A study by Period, a menstrual movement organization, Period, found that 84 percent of students “have either missed class time or know someone who missed class time because they did not have access to period products.”