Lack of free tampon accessibility frustrates students

By J1 Reporters Megan Patterson and Amelia Roth

“Hey, hey does anyone have a tampon? Or a pad? Literally, anything to help?”

This conversation runs through Marian’s floors every morning, afternoon, and after school. Girls are always in need of these feminine products and most of the time girls are so busy with school, friends, sports, and more school that they do not even realize what time of the month it may be for them.

Periods often catch a lot of girls by surprise. A majority of the female teachers have a supply of tampons and pads in the classroom and the office has tampons for girls who need them as well. Although it is nice of teachers to have these products for students and in the office, it does not help that fact that girls usually realize they need these products while using the restroom. There is no time to leave the bathroom to only go back to it, which takes a lot of time and energy. Having an alternative option, such as tampon and pad bins in the bathrooms, could help girls who are too shy to ask people to have one or just for efficiency.

Girls cannot control when and how heavy their periods are either. Imagine you need to borrow a tampon or pad from someone. Then when you are rushing to the bathroom stall, you realize that you need a Super++, not a light+. That is the worst feeling, and it is even worse because it means you have to find another one ASAP!

There is always the question of honesty when making sure girls do not steal all of the tampons or pads out of the bathroom that they are not using then and there. Marian girls can be trusted to only take them as they would need them, and this concept can always be tested with a trial run-through first. To get to the trial run stage, there are multiple ways the school could pay for this: fundraising, such as a free dress day, using leftover money from Surprise Day and asking parents and families to donate, like they do for Kleenexes at the start of the school year.

Going to an all-girls school and not having access to necessary feminine products while using the bathroom seems a little bizarre. Student Board members have brought this idea up in many meetings, but are told that Marian can not provide feminine products in all bathrooms and that the office will provide them. Although many girls carry these products in their backpacks, there are some days that you run out or your period comes out of nowhere.

Nothing is worse than using the restroom and finding out your period came while you were not prepared. Then you have to go back to class just to interrupt the teacher to ask if you can go right back to the bathroom. That is a solid five to ten minutes of missing class. It would be helpful and convenient to just step out of the stall to get a tampon in a bin and go right back into the stall instead of walking all the way back to class.

For now, products such as tampons and pads are provided in the office and in many female teachers’ rooms if needed. There are machines in some of the hallway bathrooms but the last time we checked, they did not work. Marian has taken steps to provide tampons for people who are experiencing homelessness, but there is still a need for tampons in Marian’s restrooms. If you have any opinions or ideas that can help push for this, please contact a Student Board member!

Graphic by CeciUrbanski

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The Network is the student newspaper of Marian High School, Nebraska's only Class A College-Preparatory School for young women.

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