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It's been a while since I've blogged about menstruation. So thanks to Pandagon and Majikthise, and more importantly, the assholes on the school board of an upper-state New York school, I can now bring you a post about security theatre colliding with the period.

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.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC)
Man, that's so retardedly messed up, and any active demonstration against it deserves the full backing and support of the community.
Sep. 30th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
...wow. That is ridiculous. All I can think of is how my 13-year-old self would have felt about this (i.e. mortified).
Sep. 30th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
Ya know, my understanding of Columbine type episodes is that they tend to occur as a result of students who are maladjusted or outcast for some reason.

What better way to get an entire SCHOOL of them than by singling out half of it's population for embarrassment and ridicule by their peers, on a 4 week cycle! Brilliant!
Oct. 1st, 2007 12:51 am (UTC)
that is effed up.

that said, thank g-d for the keeper.
Oct. 1st, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
That is lame.

This however is the weirdest period related thing I've seen recently.

Oct. 2nd, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
What kind of parent would send there kid to a school like this?!? Parents need to teach their kids to treat everyone with respect and that if they don’t the consequences could be horrific.
Oct. 4th, 2007 06:22 am (UTC)
And politicos and school administrators wonder why private schools and the voucher system is in such high demand.
Oct. 4th, 2007 10:07 am (UTC)
Bwahahaha. I win at Teh Shit Stirring (tm).

I forwarded this story to Bruce Schneier, and he just blogged about it :)

Oct. 4th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
I just saw it at Bruce's blog.

Thanks for sending it to him so a wider audience can learn about this idiocy.
Oct. 4th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
You little shit-stirrer, you.

Thanks for chiming in though. I definitely appreciate the solidarity.
Oct. 4th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC)
Ack. That was me.
Oct. 4th, 2007 11:50 am (UTC)
It makes total sense to me....
Hey, I think you've missed the point.

I know of one person who had to attend hospital because they had a tampon rammed up their nose, and any girl will tell you that a pad can cause massive pain if the adhesive sticks to "those hairs".

So, banning purses is highly effective and preventing these kinds of improvised weapons from getting within the school. And OMG they will both pass straight through a metal detector!!!

Has the Boston Police Department been informed????
( http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=boston+police+department+idiots )
Oct. 4th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
Re: It makes total sense to me....
1) I think that on, say, Friday, EVERY girl in the school should carry a clutch purse. And answer 'Yes' to any questions about monthly manifestations of their fertility.
2) I also think that on the same Friday, EVERY boy should attend, sans backpack but carrying, in hand a metal pencilcase, with protactor, ruler, plastic triangles and a protractor...that it, weapons of Math Instruction.

I'd like to see the video of the heads exploding!

Oct. 4th, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
Re: It makes total sense to me....
Geez,, I can't type today

"protractor, ruler, plastic triangles and compass.. that is, weapons of Math Instruction."

Oct. 5th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
Re: It makes total sense to me....
Hehe, weapons of math instruction!
Oct. 4th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC)
I like the idea of the girls carrying a purse at the same time :-)
Thats solidarity!

But, its becoming clearer everyday, (at least if one reads reddit) that the US is a police state.
Oct. 5th, 2007 07:21 am (UTC)
What's the big deal? Now all girls should say they are on their period all of the time, and nothing changes.
Oct. 5th, 2007 11:26 am (UTC)
At the risk of invoking Godwin's law...
...then they came for the backpacks...
Oct. 5th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
If I may turn your attention to point 2, which is that there are many valid reasons to carry things in backpacks besides hygiene supplies: medical supplies (inhalers, diabetics kits, etc) and the unwieldy tools for other classes (I'm think art class and photography class in general). The five minute limit to get from class to class AND hit your locker doesn't seem like enough some times.
Oct. 6th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)

I am speechless.

Please, someone tell me that this is a windup.
Oct. 7th, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
This is a windup?

Just kidding....but I wish I weren't.
Oct. 7th, 2007 10:04 am (UTC)
Hi there! I came to you via sasha_lilyrat and then linked to this post in a post I made in feminist. I completely forgot to ask for permission, and it's in the rules that I do. So uh, is it okay that I linked to this post in a feminist post? :o)
Oct. 7th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC)
No problem. :)
Oct. 20th, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
Nearly complete
The neocon program to turn us all into compliant drones is nearly complete. The new gestapo is here. Hand over your prohibited items, show me your papers and your menstrual fluid.
May. 12th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Nice quote

The departing division general manager met a last time with his young
successor and gave him three envelopes. "My predecessor did this for me,
and I'll pass the tradition along to you," he said. "At the first sign
of trouble, open the first envelope. Any further difficulties, open the
second envelope. Then, if problems continue, open the third envelope.
Good luck." The new manager returned to his office and tossed the envelopes
into a drawer.
Six months later, costs soared and earnings plummeted. Shaken, the
young man opened the first envelope, which said, "Blame it all on me."
The next day, he held a press conference and did just that. The
crisis passed.
Six months later, sales dropped precipitously. The beleagured
manager opened the second envelope. It said, "Reorganize."
He held another press conference, announcing that the division
would be restructured. The crisis passed.
A year later, everything went wrong at once and the manager was
blamed for all of it. The harried executive closed his office door, sank
into his chair, and opened the third envelope.
"Prepare three envelopes..." it said.

Aug. 22nd, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
I'm new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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