The Tri-Valley Central School in Sullivan County, NY, banned backpacks from its campus. In banning backpacks, they decided to also include purses. This poorly thought-out move most immediately impacts all the girls who are on their period. (They need to carry supplies to change their pads and tampons every few hours or so.) And as soon as somebody pointed this out, it seemed that the school would allow purses ONLY to the girls on their periods. This has led to a security guard asking girls with purses--point blank and publically--if they are on their periods. Girls have been escorted out of classes because they've carried purses.
1- Nobody who hasn't issued me a HIPPA form and who isn't my gynecologist or my best friend or my significant other has the right to ask me if I'm on my period.
1b- Making the purse the red badge of shame clues teenage peers onto who is having their period and maybe who hasn't had it YET--both of which are subjects the general populace doesn't need to know about unless the girl herself chooses to share that info. It's asking girls at a sensitive and somewhat embarrassing time in their lives to basically expose a bodily function for public scrutiny and discussion.
2- While the largest class of people affected by this is girls on their periods, it also affects students who have to carry medical devices, such as insulin needles, epinephrin needles, asthma inhalers, etc. And I am NOT a fan of the "locked medicine cabinet" policy either, where Ye Olde School Nurse locks up medicines until needed. The nature of certain medical emergencies renders that a very dangerous policy.
3- Some of the children who protested (peacefully, I'm told) were told by their principal that they were now "part of the problem". Way to minimize their feelings, ye olde administrator man. I'm sure that's gonna go a LONG way to making your student population in general feel at ease and contented.
4- The security theatre that bars backpacks and purses from campus does little in the long run. Anything you can fit in a small purse or small backpack can be smuggled in through other means. (And if you have metal detectors installed to circumvent those other means, then why take the backpacks away?) This measure seems more about giving the administration the illusion of control and safety, while significantly impairing the population the institution is actually designed to serve: the kids. See point 3. IF the point is to make the general population of the school happier and safer, it is better to not create points of oppression or to single students out with external markers for teasing by their peers.