Lack of Feminine Hygiene Products Causes Concern Female students can only find pads in the nurse’s office

For most of their school lives, female students have to deal with the constant struggle of periods. At such a young age, it is hard for students to correctly track their menstrual cycles and the lack of period products available causes issues. “I think that everywhere I go, I will always need to carry extra products just in case,” sophomore Justyn Grayce Mocero said. “I’ve noticed that a lot of public restrooms do try to provide feminine products but you would usually have to pay for them & most of the time I don’t carry a few quarters with me.” Photo Credit: Naila Yazdani
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Once a month, one in three female students have missed at least one class and had to act fast when they realize they are stuck in the bathroom while that special product is at the bottom of their backpack.

The lack of feminine hygiene products in school restrooms makes it so female students have to walk across the school to find readily available products or use what is available in the stall as a last resort. This is an occurrence that many female high school students have encountered because the products have never been available on campus. 

For junior Kayla Thomas, the experience of not having a pad or tampon in the bathroom has lead her to constantly worry about the situation.

“There have been multiple occasions when I have been stuck in the bathroom because my period started during class and there weren’t any products in the bathroom. It is aggravating when I have to use toilet paper or wait until someone else comes in,” Thomas said. “We can’t always carry products into the bathroom with us because most of the time we go to the bathroom during class. Plus, having to walk to the nurse’s office is not only embarrassing but takes away our class time.”

While some schools don’t have any form of feminine hygiene products available, older schools like Clark High School do have the machines installed in their restrooms. While Clark, a school that was built in 1965, does have feminine hygiene product machines, they aren’t and haven’t ever been stocked with the necessary items, leaving them as nothing more than decoration. 

“The restrooms at my schools don’t have a definite refill on their feminine hygiene products,” Clark High School sophomore Kacey Daimonji said. “The machines that are used to dispense them have been out of order for the entirety of my high school year.”

Alexander Dawson eighth-grader Sophia Maxwell believes that without access to proper care, many female students might not know what to d0 and valuable class time will be wasted.

“At our young ages, periods are unpredictable and I go to a school where there are girls from preschool to 8th grade, so girls could be experiencing their first period and not be prepared,” Alexander Dawson eighth-grader Sophia Maxwell said. “If you don’t have a product on you, you then have to walk across the school and go to the office. That takes away your class or lunchtime, and it creates the chance of bleeding through your pants. If products were in the bathroom, we wouldn’t have to worry as much.”

While some might believe that CCSD cannot afford to offer this service, private schools such as Alexander Dawson have the same continuous struggle.

“I think that schools should be responsible for providing us with the period products because not every girl is going to have a pad or tampon on them at all times. I go to private schools where I pay for the education and experience,” Maxwell said. “They pay for other necessities, why not pads as well? But instead, if a student needs a period product they are going to have to leave the bathroom and ask another student or a teacher, which not everyone is comfortable with. If they can’t easily find a product then they are left to fend for themselves.”

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Some teachers have taken it upon themselves to provide students with the necessary products, even though they already spend their own money on school supplies and other basic classroom necessities.

“Even though there are products located in the nurse’s office, there should be some in every bathroom so it’s more accessible and convenient for the students,” sophomore Justyn Grayce Moceros said. “Even though I’ve never actually experienced getting my period during the school day and having no access to products, I would find it very uncomfortable to have to walk to the nurse’s office or back to a classroom to get a product. I would feel both disgusting and embarrassed because even after you get a product from the classroom you would have to explain to your teacher why you have to go back & by that time, the whole class would probably know.” 

Most students think that schools do not care at all, but the issue has never been directly addressed with administration, according to Assistant Principal Arlene Andrade.  

“As somebody that is new to the school and facilities, I have never even been asked the question. The fact that this is even being brought to my attention as something that is a want or need for girls is good to know,” Andrade said. “I appreciate that it is on my radar now and I can totally talk about it. I could absolutely look into it talking about the potential cost and again I didn’t even realize this was a want.”

For now, female students will have to continue finding supplies in the schools’ nurse’s office, from friends or just pack their own.

“Once a month, I feel like I am put at a disadvantage because my period was early,” Thomas said. “I either have to walk across campus to go to the nurse and hope she can give me a pad, walk back to the classroom and have to leave right after or use toilet paper. Either way, I have to risk bleeding through and am fearful the rest of the school day.”

Do you think schools should have feminine hygiene products available in the bathroom?