Primary school excludes girl with her period

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A 10-year-old girl was sent home from her primary school because it did not have a sanitary disposal unit.

And it was claimed that the New Zealand school principal suggested the girl go on the contraceptive pill and stay home when she got her period.

Research fellow at the University of Otago's public health department Sarah Donovan told NZ news show Nine to Noon that the girl only returned to school after her parents donated a sanitary bin for her to dispose of her sanitary products.

"She was pretty distraught because being 10, that's pretty young to get your period anyway and she was just kind of coping with the self-management of that and then had the kind of added stigma of being excluded from the school," Ms Donovan said.

"She's only been having her period for a few months but sometimes is still choosing to stay home now because she doesn't feel confident with self-management and feels a bit of stigma about using the bin at school now.

"And the other suggestion from the school principal was that she be put on the contraceptive pill which the mother was also upset about."

Ms Donovan said sanitary bins should be installed at all schools and health education about periods, pain management and sanitary products be provided at an earlier age.

"When you're teaching girls about reproductive health and periods and things, you're not necessarily going to pitch those modules at primary schools because you think it's too soon, but in reality they might need to have a rethink," she said.

Another girl, Wellington secondary school student, Molly, who was also 10 when she started her period, said her primary school also did not have sanitary bins.


"During periods all through primary school I would just go home," Molly said.

"Because it was a really small school, the teachers were all aware of what was happening but they didn't really seem to mind."

Parents at the school had to ask for it to provide sanitary bins.

"It wasn't a priority so they hadn't even thought of that," she said.

"There were bins provided afterwards so then our attendance rate increased."

She felt sympathy for the girl who had been sent home.

"You are starting to deal with it yourself," Molly said.

"You don't even know your own body once you start that young and you are being told to stay away because of it.

"I imagine it would be pretty nasty."