New basket brings dignity to menstruation


Anisa Khatana

GO AHEAD, TAKE ONE. A student takes a pad from HCC’s basket of free menstrual products. Room 152 is located in the downstairs art/language hallway at the end of the hall nearest to the exit doors, and sits directly across from a set of restrooms. Upon entering Room 152, look to the left to find the black and white woven basket sitting atop a stack of filing cabinets. “I’m excited to see [what] HCC… will do next to help improve SHS,” said Connor Close, 11.

A wave of dread washes through her arms and legs and touches the pit of her stomach as she looks down and her eyes realize the gravity of what feels like an embarrassing and inescapable reality.

She has gotten her period, she has no menstrual products, and it is only the second bell.

Her options? Bleed through five more bells and lunch, hoping toilet paper can contain her flow, or ask for permission to visit the nurse’s office. No, the latter option is out—she does not have money for that.

She is not the only one.

No matter the scenario, no matter the socioeconomic standing of the “menstruator,” almost everyone who has ever had a period has a period horror story.

As one of the projects they have planned for this year, Homeless Care Club (HCC) is seeking to address this issue at SHS. This started with the announcement of what a few members have dubbed “The Basket.”

“The point of the basket is to provide free menstrual products for the women in the school. [Menstruation] is a natural bodily function that happens to all women.

“Providing products that are free, in a classroom, is starting the conversation to end period stigma,” said HCC member Renee Kohrman, 10.

Positioned just inside the entrance to room 152, French teacher Mrs. Lesley Chapman’s classroom (located in the lower Global Language wing), the pads and tampons in the basket are free for use by any “menstruator” in need, no questions asked.

“The basket is a huge step forward in making tampons and pads more readily available for people in need.

“Not only are they free, but they are right next to the door so that you don’t need to talk to anyone, you can just quickly grab what you need,” said HCC member Connor Close, 11.

HCC is looking to further expand access to free and shameless menstrual products at SHS, with more accessible options potentially coming later this year.

“Ending period stigma and providing free menstrual products for women in need is the whole point of the club… Why should women be shamed for something that is natural and they cannot control?” Kohrman said.

According to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health, a girl can start her period anywhere from age eight to age 15. For most, that adds up to a significant number of periods in high school alone.

Perhaps dealing with them, however, does not have to be so significant a burden.