Op-ed: School should provide feminine products for students

Ashli Wagner          Page Kimzey
Video Editor            Audio Editor

Women on average have 465 total periods over 38 years, or roughly 2,280 days with her period which amounts to 6.25 years of her life, according to the Huffington Post. Photo by Ashli Wagner
Women on average have 465 total periods over 38 years, about 2,280 days with their periods which amounts to 6.25 years, according to the Huffington Post. Photo by Ashli Wagner

In Webster Groves High School, there has been little to no access to feminine hygiene products.

If a student forgets to bring a pad or tampon with her, she can either leave the classroom and go to the nurse’s office, or ask classmates.

It’s embarrassing for a girl to ask someone she doesn’t know for a tampon. If a student asks a teacher to go to the nurse, the teacher sometimes asks what’s wrong, and no girl wants to tell a teacher, especially a male teacher, that she needs to see the nurse because she is on her period.

The high school should provide feminine products in the bathroom either for free or a low charge.

When approached for research on this article, principal Dr. Jon Clark was very receptive and said he would research on how to better provide these resources. He also asked the reporters for input about how to distribute them and whether or not to charge a small amount per pad or tampon.

We hope Dr. Clark’s efforts on behalf of the school’s female population bring the needed change. Dr. Clark has already decided to make tampons more available to the student body.

There are now feminine products in each assistant principal’s office that female students can ask for.
Also, Dr. Clark is researching dispensers that can be put in women’s bathrooms in the school that would allow students in need of tampons and pads to have free access to them.

Alumni director Pat Voss said, “I don’t consider these luxury items. They are necessities, and just like paper towels are necessities and we provide them, hand soap is a necessity we provide that, for the female population those are a necessity and therefore we should provide them.”

Menstruation has always been considered a taboo subject, and women are taught to be ashamed of the process and to hide it.
Senior Patrick Schranck said, “Menstruation is a natural process, and we really shouldn’t be treating women differently because they go through that.”

“It really bothers me that even today women are thought of as being irrational, and just because we menstruate and have these hormones, we should be ashamed of it and hide it, but it’s not. You can’t be ashamed of it. It’s natural and the fact that we are not providing them (pads and tampons) doesn’t make sense,” senior Kate Scheffing said.

If the school provides products even for just a quarter a piece in one bathroom, students and staff can have access to the necessities they need each month. The school would also be taking in money with each purchase, helping to cover some of the costs.

A box of 40 regular absorbency plastic Equate (Walmart house brand) tampons is $4.97. Tampons are meant to be changed about every six hours. On average, that means a women would use four tampons a day, 20 for an entire cycle. Depending on the women, size and cost of tampons vary. A box of tampons can last up to two months.

Though the expenses of providing tampons and pads for students and staff could be an obstacle for the administration, costs should not stand in the way of providing must-have health products.

Funds should be allocated in order to provide the products female students and staff need in order to make the best of their time at school.

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