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Schoolgirl On Period Denied Toilet Pass, Ends Up Bleeding Through Clothes Twice

Lynne Versluys 15 Jan 2019

This schoolgirl's experience belies a systemic issue facing young girls trying to pursue their education.

Humiliation

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An eleven-year-old female student at Cotham School in Bristol, England, was humiliated on two occasions while at school by not being allowed to go to the bathroom despite being on her period. The two instances happened in between bathroom breaks and caused her to bleed through her clothing.

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Two Separate Occasions

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The first incident occurred in September​ when the girl realized that she had gotten her period, but her teacher would not let her go to the bathroom during class. She was wearing jeans for a non-uniform day and the stain was nearly covered by her sweater but was still visible. It was such a traumatic event for the young girl that she didn't want to go back to school when she was on her period.

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Unbelievable

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While her mom assured her that it wouldn't happen again, it did in October when a male teacher wouldn't let her go to the bathroom.

According to her mother,

"She asked multiple times but he wouldn’t let her out and so she just had to sit there and bleed through her clothing - again. It was very traumatizing​ for her."

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Afraid To Go To School

Giphy

The girl's mother, who chose to remain nameless to maintain privacy, says that her daughter is now afraid to go to school while on her period. The woman complained to the school on a number of occasions over the incidents, and while the girl was awarded a bathroom pass, she is still concerned how this issue was handled and how it will affect other girls deal with menstruation at school.

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Not How We Should Raise Our Girls

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She told Bristol Live that this was not the message the school should be sending young girls.

"They should not be making young girls feel guilty because she needs to go to the bathroom and sort out her basic care.

Now, she’s scared to go to school in case they won’t let her out of the classroom, that’s not what we should be teaching girls."

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Tools For Success

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The mother continued, saying that giving them the power to say what they need is an essential tool for raising girls.

"We should be allowing them to go as part of giving them the tools to achieve their goals whether they are on or off their period."

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New Tools Needed

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She blamed Cotham School for how they handled the ordeal.

"It shouldn’t have gotten as far as her having to bleed through her clothes not once but twice in the space of a few short months. Schools should be finding ways to help kids not traumatize them."

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Schools Need To Do Better

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When you're young and impressionable, an incident like this can carry a lot of weight, the mother explained.

""When you’re only 11-years-old and shy anyway, requesting to go to the toilet several times is unpleasant enough but, all she wanted to do was take care of her basic care.

They kept saying it was their policy but I really think they should change their policy if that's the case, they need to do better.

I mean my daughter is one among thousands of girls in any number of schools in Bristol and up and down the country so, this can’t just be happening to her and it’s not acceptable.

Their primary concern should be the welfare of girls who have the right to basic care and not focused solely on whether children will abuse some sort of pass system.”

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School Policy

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According to a spokesperson from Cotham School, they are working to make things better for girls at school experiencing their periods.

"The school does have a policy not to allow students out of lessons for the toilet as part of our Safeguarding procedures. Students should not be out of lessons unsupervised.

However, as staff we are all keenly aware that we have young girls in our care and that, on occasion, they will need to use the toilet outside of the usual break times.

We aim to support all our girls during their period."

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Regrettable Incident

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Cotham School made sure to point out that they were active with the Red Box Project, which works to provide free menstruation products to lower-income​ students.

“It is regrettable that this has happened and that this young girl has felt humiliated and also that this article may portray the school in a negative way when we are trying to do good work in this area.”

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