Do you remember getting your period in school?
It probably doesn’t bring back any great memories. More likely than not it involved having to find the words to explain to a school nurse what was going on and probably having to do so as other kids looked on.
A teacher in Michigan is hoping to normalize menstruation by creating a supportive environment for her menstruating (or soon to be menstruating) students.
In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Kristin Heavner, shared how she creates “menstruation care packs,” which she keeps in her classroom.
“The students know that they can come ask, and they get a really pretty bag with their needed supplies inside,” explains Heavner in her Facebook post. “It’s discreet and more fun than being handed a giant pad.”
Heavner’s “menstruation care packs” include an ipsy makeup bag full of pads, panty liners, tampons and disposable wipes.
While the gesture may seem small, for her students it’s the difference between feeling shame and embarrassment in having to go to the school nurse and feeling understood by a teacher who helps normalize the situation.
“Sure, the office has pads for students, but once you’ve already figured out that there is an issue, the last thing you want to do is head to the office wait in line, ask for what you need, walk back to the bathroom, etc,” writes Heavner. “I am right across from the bathroom and that makes it much more convenient than having to go all the way to the office.”
In her post, Heavner encourages other teachers to do the same and goes as far as to note that she also asks if students need any pads or tampons to take home. For many, this may be a reality as the price of menstrual products could be outside of the budget for some families.
In a lifetime, it’s estimated that a menstruating individual will spend an average of $2,500 on tampons alone.