Anyone who has ever had a period in their life knows they are often unpredictable and rarely convenient. No matter how old you are or how long you've had periods, they are messy, uncomfortable and completely uncontrollable. Periods can be even tougher for younger girls and teens to deal with because their cycles are rarely regular and their flow can fluctuate from light to heavy with absolutely no warning. Dealing with your period while in school is even more difficult because girls need permission to use the bathroom to tend to their personal hygiene needs, and periods do not know how to wait for a bathroom break!
Kelly Adams is a mother of four in the UK who is livid that her a teacher at her daughter's school denied the 14-year-old a visit to the bathroom during her period, resulting in the teen having an unfortunate and embarrassing leak. Adams posted about the incident on her Facebook page writing she was "absolutely fuming and disgusted" with her daughter's school.
She went on to detail that her daughter was refused a trip to the bathroom which resulted in her not only being locked out of her classroom (after she went anyway) but then being given a detention for leaving. She also notes that her teacher told her daughter to "learn to control her period"!
Adams told Gloucestershire Live that when her daughter, Maisie-Rae, explained what happened, she was livid. "When Maisie told me about it I felt so angry that I could cry," she said. "Maisie felt humiliated and embarrassed and it is horrible what happened to her," she added.
Adams was angry that her daughter, who she said has received three previous detentions for the same issue, should never have been punished for having to use the bathroom. "She should never of had a detention for needing to go to the toilet during her period."
Maisie explained what happened, adding “the class seemed to be in shock at what happened as well."
“I just grabbed my (sanitary) pad and went to the toilet," she says of the incident. "When I tried to come back into the classroom the teacher told me that my bag was in another room and I could not go back to class."
Although the school has a 'pink card' policy for girls to use during their period, Maisie wasn't aware of it. "I think it would be a good idea to get the girls wearing a little pink wristband and then it would show the teachers and others that the girl is on her period and that they may be a little emotional and not able to concentrate that week," Adams added. “I have spoken to the headteacher at the school who is very interested at the proposal," she added.
The school wouldn't comment directly on this particular incident but did say "the situation is not as has been interpreted." Headteacher David Alexander spoke to Gloucestershire Live and assured parents that their female students are given access to the bathroom for any period issues. "We do allow students to go to the toilet for issues relating to their periods," he said. "In fact, we have 'time out' cards specifically for that purpose - we introduced this to all girls in assemblies at the start of the year. Every girl had the opportunity to carry one. The system does work effectively and is discreet. We are sensitive to the needs of all students but especially girls in this situation, who are developing emotionally and physically."
As for Adams, she wants all female students to know their bodies and its functions are nothing to be ashamed of. "I want to be able to go into the school and talk about what happens to the girls and we need to make sure that the girls are not ashamed of what is happening to their bodies."