A need, not a want. Period.

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By Kate Emmanuel, Co-Copy Editor Students who menstruate are all too familiar with this situation: Have your period? Walking to class and realizing it’s about time for a new tampon, when it hits: “I forgot to bring one today.” Now there’s a choice to make, and it comes down to two options: missing class time...

By Kate Emmanuel, Co-Copy Editor

Students who menstruate are all too familiar with this situation: Have your period? Walking to class and realizing it’s about time for a new tampon, when it hits: “I forgot to bring one today.” Now there’s a choice to make, and it comes down to two options: missing class time or leaving in a tampon for too long. Which one’s the best bet?

While on their periods, students are often forced to choose between their health and education. According to the 2019 State of the Period Survey, four out of five menstruating teens said either they or someone they know have missed class time because they did not have access to period products. Instead of making trips to the nurse’s office, a restroom and finally back to class, free sanitary products in restrooms would eliminate this unnecessary go-between, and cause less disruption to learning. By providing period products in restrooms, the school enables students to prioritize both their health and education.

The addition of menstrual hygiene products to bathrooms would also encourage better sanitary practices. The 2021 State of the Period Survey found that over half of all menstruating students have worn period products for longer than recommended. At Conestoga, the period product dispensers found in restrooms aren’t even filled and cost a quarter. Sanitary products are also difficult to access in school because they are only offered in a few locations: Dr. Boyle’s room or the nurse’s office. Greater accessibility would ensure that students can change their products within an appropriate time frame and reduce the risk of infections like Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Besides discouraging healthy sanitary practices, the lack of period products in our school also makes for embarrassing situations. When another student in class takes their backpack with them to the restroom, it singles them out: everyone suspects they’re on their period. If Conestoga offered free menstrual products in bathrooms, there would be no need for a not-so-discreet slip of a tampon up the sleeve. Period products in restrooms would allow students to focus in class, rather than on planning an unnoticed escape to the restroom.

Some may argue that period products should not be provided for free in school restrooms because they are a luxury. If period products are a luxury, then what separates soap and water from being a luxury too? It’s a federal requirement for public bathrooms to have sanitary products like soap and toilet paper for students, so why is this standard not the same for period products? Yes, having free period products will be a costly goal to reach, but its impact on students will be priceless. 

Period products in restrooms aren’t too much to ask for. Just by providing students with basic hygiene products at school, unnecessary worry over periods will be alleviated. Students should be supported in school to pursue the best education they can and periods shouldn’t be an obstacle.


Kate Emmanuel can be reached at [email protected]

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