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Women strive to get menstrual products in bathrooms

A community of women is banding together to fund the essentials.
Without+tampons+in+the+bathroom+dispensaries%2C+girls+go+to+the+school+nurse%E2%80%99s+office+for+tampons.+The+school+only+funds+the+menstrual+products+there.
Kaitlyn Ho ’26
Without tampons in the bathroom dispensaries, girls go to the school nurse’s office for tampons. The school only funds the menstrual products there.

On November 14, the Feminism Club raised $279.00 from their bake sale. It’s all going to pay for women’s menstrual products in the bathroom.

Currently, the dispensaries in the bathrooms are completely empty.

You speed walk from your first block class to the third-floor nurse’s office, shoving past the thick crowds of students. There’s no relying on the dispensaries in the bathroom. Don’t run. You now have three minutes. Your body has decided to mess with you today, and you require a menstrual product.

Once you get there, other students with nosebleeds and fevers try to avoid eye contact with you as you grab a tampon. Two minutes left. Thankfully, there’s a bathroom in the nurse’s office–but wait, there’s a line. Once you’ve left, you have one minute left. You speedwalk some more, praying your second block teacher won’t punish you for being late.

Too late, the bell has rung by the time you push the door open.

Welcome to being a teenage girl.

To prevent situations like this, president of Feminism Club senior Casey Conway led fundraising efforts for menstrual products in the bathrooms.

“I think there is a need, and the school is not meeting it,” Conway said.

Junior Sophia Morris agrees that the school should pay for tampons themselves.

“They installed the things and they’ve never been filled. It’s on them to do their jobs. If we have to raise money, then that’s kind of just sad,” Morris said.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia require schools to provide free menstrual products to students as of June 2023, according to Education Week. The majority of these states provide districts with no additional funding to support the menstrual products.

Pennsylvania neither requires nor funds menstrual products.

Without tampons in the dispensaries, girls go to the school nurse’s office for tampons. The school only funds the menstrual products there.

“They’re the kind of cheap cardboard ones. And I don’t know, I also feel like, that’s the nurse’s office. So out of the way too, it’s just not a great spot,” Conway said.

According to school nurse Ms. Sara Fleming, five to six girls come into the nurse’s office per day. Sometimes there are lines of one or two people outside of the nurse’s bathroom.

“It would be more convenient for the girls not to have to make an extra trip here,” Fleming said. “And if they just went to the bathroom and the bathroom was supplied with what they had, then I think that would be a lot easier.”

After the success of the fundraiser, the feminism club plans on tracking the tampons used by students in the bathrooms every week and showing the results to the school board to reveal how vital free menstrual products really are.

“We’re also going to try and offer a little survey if people are interested in giving their own opinion to just have some sort of testimony to say, ‘Yeah, I use these, I think they’re really helpful,’” Conway said.

Conway hopes that the results of the survey will help the school realize how important menstrual products are and further motivate them to make such products more accessible.

Fleming believes that having products in the bathrooms can give girls additional privacy as well.

“I think it avoids embarrassment,” Fleming said.

Fleming says that the majority of students visit her office in between blocks, including those needing menstrual products. It can feel violating in some ways for girls to have to grab tampons in front of everyone waiting and run to the bathroom.

“I feel like for the girls, the bathroom just seems to be a lot more of a community space… So I feel like just making it more of a welcoming environment would be beneficial,” Conway said.

The issue of menstrual products unite many in the women’s community.

“I would imagine if a girl needs something in terms of the issue we’re talking about, another girl is more likely to lend it to her and say, ‘Don’t worry about it, you know, just do what you got to, you know, here it is,’” Fleming said. “And I think you girls probably would take care of each other more in that sense, especially about this sensitive topic.”

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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Ho '26, Managing Editor of Web
Kaitlyn Ho is the current managing editor of web and the health and sciences editor of The Panther Press. Her first article was on the German Exchange Students. There was no turning back after that. She loves to learn about communicating complex science in simple ways, reading, dancing, artificial intelligence, and playing (badly) the piano and cello. Her future self can confirm that she will laugh at and enjoy every single thing her past self wrote.
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