The Freedom of the Period Products

How many times have you come to school without one very important item? Unfortunately, for many students, that item can often be menstrual products.

It’s embarrassing enough to ask a student you may or may not know if they have a pad or tampon to pass under the stall, but to ball up toilet paper and hope that you can walk all the way down to the nurses office to get period products is every menstruators worst nightmare.

According to a study by Free The Tampons, 86% percent of menstruators begin their periods unexpectedly, which isn’t too surprising. The study also reported how people handled such a situation.

79% of the participants admitted to “macgyvering”, or quickly constructing menstruation products out of toilet paper. In a time of crisis, 62% had to buy products, while 53% asked others for help.

Since HWRHS is a closed campus, no one can leave to go to the local CVS and buy pads and tampons – and there isn’t a reason to. In almost every girls’ bathroom, a sign with directions of where to find menstrual products (in the nurse’s office, the top drawers of the cupboard in the gender-neutral bathroom, Ms. Hanson’s office in the gym, and the trainers’ office). This message can be seen above every empty or non-functional tampon dispenser.

The fact that period products are available at the high school is a lifesaver – but the location can be problematic.

First, having period products in the nurse’s office implies it’s a medical issue. According to Commonwealth magazine, such placements only “supports the ideology that periods are an illness, instead of a normal bodily function”; they should not be treated as such.

Additionally, it can be hard to get to the nurse’s office from any of the bathrooms at the high school. It’s inconvenient to walk across school while risking bleeding through, and it can be humiliating to have to let someone know about something like that. 

Most importantly, the sign is also misleading. It advertises that pads can be found in the top drawer in the gender-neutral bathroom; however, there is no cupboard let alone a top drawer. It can mislead students who would prefer privacy by simply going to another location, only to find that they need to go to the nurse after all.

There is a simple solution; period products should be placed in the school bathrooms. It would be more convenient, less stressful, and it can fix multiple issues, such as missing class. Additionally, states such as California, New York and Illinois have issued laws stating that menstrual products must be provided in public schools.

Menstrual products come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the needs of the person menstruating (

And while some argue that it’s unreasonable and costly to keep menstrual products in the school bathrooms, it is a worthwhile investment. Students don’t need to provide themselves with toilet paper or soap, so how is it any different with menstrual products? It can help avoid embarrassment, panic, and a feeling of being punished for having to miss class in the hopes of making it to the nurse’s office in time. 

It’s not one or two people that need these supplies – it’s at least half of the high school student and faculty body. 

However, there seems to be change on the horizon. In a civics action project, written by Olivia Soolman and Aeneas Strozier, the school nurse, Mrs. Lea Tabenkin, will be meeting with the facilities director before the end of the school year to discuss the installation of new, coinless dispensers that will be stocked with free pads and tampons.  

Hopefully, these changes will come soon, so be patient but stay persistent.