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Early years

17th Aug 2023

‘Absolutely disgusting and dehumanising’ – School slammed for bathroom rules affecting female students

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Each school has its own policy when it comes to bathroom breaks, some are happy to let students go whenever they need while others are a lot more strict.

Some schools use a system of good behaviour equaling the opportunity to use the toilet, others restrict the number of times a child can go to the bathroom – regardless, these rules have become more and more intense.

According to a recent report of a charter school in Chicago, it was found that they have enforced “disciplinary” bathroom break policies that have left young girls bleeding through their clothes while on their periods.

According to the report, the Noble Network of Charter Schools serves more than 12,000 students in the area and it exposed that many of the schools’ ‘dehumanising’ tactics.

The report saw testimony from an anonymous female student who claimed in her school, children were not allowed to go to the toilet without an escort.

As most people know, pads and tampons leak if they aren’t changed on a regular basis and if they go unchanged, it can lead to obvious bleeds on clothing.

Especially for young girls only beginning their periods, it can be hugely embarrassing and uncomfortable – but not changing tampons or even pads can lead to toxic shock syndrome.

“We have [bathroom] escorts, and they rarely come so we end up walking out [of class] and that gets us in trouble,” the student told the NPR reporter. “But who wants to walk around knowing there’s blood on them? It can still stain the seats. They just need to be more understanding.”

The student also claimed that the school officials have noticed period stains on girls’ clothing due to the rule, but administrators are refusing to change the policy.

Instead, they are allowing girls to break the dress code and tie hoodies around their waists to hide the blood.

They have also sent out an email to all staff with a list of the girls who have been approved to break the dress code.

Parents have been left outraged by the report, with Scott Cameron, the editor of the Illinois Newsroom, telling Huffpost: “Sources on several different Noble campuses independently shared experiences about a lack of bathroom access. Additional sources also came forward with similar experiences after publication. We stand by the story.”

Another person wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “I don’t know which part of this I would find more traumatic as a student: Having to walk around all day in blood-stained pants (and underwear) or having an email go out to the entire staff announcing that I bled through my pants!”

“I say tie it around their necks! How absolutely disgusting and dehumanizing!” another person tweeted. “Not to mention the medical ramifications it can have for these poor girls. These people should not be allowed to teach academics to our children.”