Students at a middle school are gaining attention for the clever way they challenged a male principal’s ridiculous decision.
The students proposed that their school start providing free tampons in the bathrooms. When they got denied, they decided to protest by baking cookies in the shape of the popular feminine hygiene product.
NARAL President Ilyse Hogue, whose friend has a 7th-grade daughter at the school, shared the story and a photo of the creations on her Twitter.
In the caption, Ilyse mentioned that the kids at the school had “organized” for free tampons, but that the male principle said no because the kids would “abuse the privilege.”
According to research, young girls are getting their periods earlier than girls did decades ago. Middle school aged students are absolutely in need of feminine hygiene products. Also, kids don’t always have money to buy tampons—even if there’s a machine available. So, it makes sense that the kids would want and need free access in the event that Aunt Flo unexpectedly visits during school hours.
The tweet now has over 58,000 likes. In the comments section, many applauded the students’ efforts and questioned the principal’s thinking in making his decision.
Several brought up the point that kids are very unlikely to “abuse the privilege” because WHO HOARDS TAMPONS FOR FUN? “Maybe they’ll have an extra period just so they can take more???” wrote user @StrayPolitical.
Meanwhile, user @techevangelista provided a translation of what she thought the principal was really thinking when he chose to deny students access to free tampons. “These CHILDREN who we’ve made HORRIFIED OF THEIR OWN BODIES are just going to TAKE HANDFULS OF THESE TAMPONS because the WORST THING EVER would be kids having EXTRA TAMPONS”—this dude.”
Others suggested more extreme measures the girls could take so the principal would REALLY get the point. “Maybe the girls should demonstrate that they are not taking advantage of free tampons by returning them to the principal when they are finished with them,” wrote user @BarbaraMcI.
It’s common for schools to provide free tampons to students. Since fall 2016, New York City public schools offer free tampons and pads in all school buildings with sixth through 12th graders, according to Newsweek. And in July 2019, New Hampshire passed a law providing free tampons and other menstrual products in public schools, USA Today reports. Many individual schools across the country are on board with this initiative too.
Speaking with Newsweek back in 2016, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, a leading writer and advocate for menstrual equity, called menstrual supplies “as much of a necessity as pencils and paper” in order for kids “to be fully engaged in the classroom.”
Props to the middle schoolers being proactive and organizing the proposal for their school to offer free tampons—but bigger props to them for protesting when their plan was rejected. Let’s hope their principal does the right thing and changes his mind, especially now that the students’ efforts have gone viral.