Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Sunday Reflections: Newsflash – Teenage Girls Have Periods, Let’s Not Make That Suck for Them


On Friday, The Teen’s school did not want them to bring backpacks.

I know this because they sent an email. They called and left a message. And they sent out text messages.

The messages said, you “do not need” to bring a backpack. Which is not the same as no really, don’t bring a backpack.

So as students walked into the school on Friday, if they had a bag, they were told to leave them in the office and they could come pick them up after school.

Newflash: a majority of middle school girls have gotten their period. This means that they need to carry some type of product with them. They usually like to do this discreetly. That usually involves carrying some type of bag.

But when one student mentioned that she needed her bag because she needed her product, she was told that she could just tell her teacher when it was time and she could go to the office and get her stuff and use the restroom.

This is not okay.

Look, I’m 43. I am no longer embarrassed by my period. I will walk into the store, grab a box of tampons and whip it onto that conveyor belt without flinching. I have years of experience with this at this point.

But 7th grade Karen . . . I remember once having to walk to the corner store to buy product and I also bought a magazine, some gum, a candy bar and whatever else I had money for because I didn’t want anyone to know that I needed this product right this very moment thank you. I can’t imagine the horrors of having to tell a teacher I needed to go get my bag that was confiscated and then telling the office people that I needed my bag. It seems like walking around with a neon flashing sign that says THIS GIRL IS ON HER PERIOD TODAY.

The halls of a middle school are treacherous enough water as it is, the sharks are already circling and sniffing for blood that indicates any type of weakness. And yes, that’s a horribly bad metaphor in this instance.

Look, girls have periods. For a lot of girls, this starts in the middle school years. And for some girls, it can take some getting used to. It’s this biological thing that happens. It’s not a big deal, but it does require some certain attending to. Let’s not create rules that make it harder for our teens to navigate their changing lives. We shouldn’t be part of the problem in the lives of teens if we claim to be about empowering teens.


  1. Why didn’t they want the kids to bring backpacks in the first place? What was the point?

  2. We also encourage students to leave backpacks home on the last day, but there were still some who brought bags with lunches, supplies for field day, etc. I will check when we go back to school, but I don’t think anyone at all was asked to abandon their bags in the office. I have noticed that today’s girls are a little less shy than we were at offering up this information to adults, but you are right that the administration should take into account that many students might need to have bags with them for different reasons.

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