'Dehumanizing' School Bathroom Policy Forces Young Girls to Bleed Through Their Pants

girls forced to bleed through pants at school

The subject of schools and their concerning bathroom break policies has been on parents' minds for years. From restricting the number of breaks kids can take a day to giving out potty "rights" to kids with good behavior, these bathroom rules seem to be becoming increasingly ridiculous and dangerous for kids. A recent report revealed that some charter schools in Chicago enforce "disciplinary" bathroom break policies that often result in young girls bleeding through their pants while on their periods -- and people are really pissed off about it. 

  • A groundbreaking NPR piece shed light on the "dehumanizing" culture at a group of charter schools in Chicago.

    According to its report, the Noble Network of Charter Schools serve over 12,000 students throughout the Chicago area. The report exposed many of the schools' questionable disciplinary tactics: students being forced to remain completely silent in the hallways for months at a time, and a strict ban on "unnatural" hair colors. But what stuck out most was the testimony of an anonymous female student who claimed kids aren't allowed to take bathroom breaks without an escort. 

    Because most pads and tampons begin to leak if they aren't changed regularly, this rule often forces menstruating students to literally bleed through their uniform pants. This is not only a huge source of embarrassment for girls, but it also opens them up to things like toxic shock syndrome, a severe illness that can be caused by leaving a tampon in for too long and lead to some very serious damage. 

    "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 claimed that schools have definitely noticed the number of girls on their period who stain their clothes because they aren't allowed to use the bathroom. But instead of making an effort to change their ridiculous policy, administrators at certain campuses came up with another "genius" solution -- allowing the girls to deviate from the dress code and tie sweatshirts around their waists to hide the blood

    Even worse, those administrators also send out an email to everyone on staff with a list of girls' names who were approved to break dress code because of their periods -- you know, so they wouldn't get in trouble for the sweatshirts they were all but forced to wear.

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  • The NPR report sparked outrage from many people online, including Los Angeles Times editor Jessica Roy, who spoke out to her followers.

    Constance Jones Brewer, president of Noble Network of Charter Schools, confirmed the existence of these ridiculous policies in a statement to HuffPost. But she claimed the anonymous student's comments about menstruating students were false:  

    "Let me be clear -- Noble absolutely accommodates our students during menstruation, including bathroom trips whenever the student needs one. This is the same accommodation as high schools everywhere, and I would tolerate nothing less from my organization. We love our students and it is our sacred responsibility to ensure their health and safety. We also know that stains are still not 100% preventable for factors that are private to each student, but when they happen, our schools provide supportive solutions as quickly as possible."
    Scott Cameron, the editor of the Illinois Newsroom who helped report the story for NPR, told HuffPost in a statement that Brewer's explanation is ridiculous:  "...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. "
  • Others aren't buying it either. Angry people took to Twitter to share their disgust at what these students go through. 

  • People pointed out that purposely forcing girls to bleed on themselves is as dehumanizing as it gets. 

  • Others wondered how the crazy bathroom policy affects other students who may require frequent bathroom breaks. 

  • And many are trying to figure out why parents would allow their girls to put up with something as horrible as this. 

    These rules are vile to say the least, both for menstruating students and any other kid attending school at Noble Network of Charter Schools. It should go without saying that kids should be able to take care of normal bodily functions whenever they need to. It doesn't get any more dehumanizing than forcing young girls to walk around school with blood-covered clothes because their school can't be bothered to change a ridiculous bathroom policy. 

education menstruation