I spent 2 hours leaking during my GCSEs after school failed to provide tampons – my teacher told me to be more discreet
A 16-YEAR-OLD girl who leaked onto her chair during a two-hour exam was told to be “more discreet” rather than offering her toiletries.
Tilly, 16, from Cardiff, was only a few minutes into her 10th grade English test last year when she suddenly realized her period had started.
She and other students had been told that tampons and pads would be available in the restrooms.
But to her dismay, Tilly couldn’t find anything in the toilet at the exam site.
Instead, she spent the next two hours of her exam slumped in her chair and “not saying a word.”
Tilly’s panic over the situation meant she couldn’t focus on her important exam paper.
“I sat there for two hours, dripping in my own blood, with nothing to do. I was so uncomfortable I just couldn’t concentrate,” she said.
After this ordeal ended, Tilly let the other students leave the exam room before getting up, as she was too upset to leave the room.
She broke down with her principal, who chastised her instead of supporting her.
“He told me to be more discreet about it,” Tilly recalls.
The student went home early because she could no longer afford to stay in school afterwards.
Tilly’s school in Cardiff told it the BBC It was not possible to comment on the incident, but the accessibility of the products in the school had improved over the past year.
New data commissioned by a group of UK charities fighting period poverty – Irise, In Kind Direct, Cysters, Freedom4Girls and Bloody Good Period – shows more than one in ten schools are still not offering free period products.
Thirteen percent of girls said their school or college does not offer free menstrual products at all, according to the charities.
They showed that a third of young girls miss school because they lack supervision or access to period products.
Another 44 percent of girls are too embarrassed to ask for menstrual products at school, and a quarter (24 percent) were too embarrassed to notify a teacher when their period started, according to the charity group.
In February this year said the Welsh Government She wanted to achieve “time dignity” by 2027, improve access to products and reduce stigma.
It is committed to ensuring that free classroom time products are available at every school and college in the country.
The Scottish Government made history in 2018 by becoming the first in the world to make period products available free to schoolchildren, college students and students.
Meanwhile in England, ministers vowed to provide free menstrual products to all girls in state schools and colleges as part of the Period Products Scheme.
Emily Wilson, CEO of Irise International, said: “Despite political and budgetary commitments, more work is needed in UK schools to achieve the Government’s vision of ending poverty and shame for all by 2025.”
“Time-related poverty and shame are exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis, leading to more young people feeling fear and outrage every month, thereby missing out on important education.”
“Young people are fed up with missing out on classes, sports and other opportunities because society doesn’t put their basic needs first. They are tired of being ashamed and are demanding their right to menstruate gracefully in British schools,” she said.
The charities have joined forces in the Every Period Counts campaign to:
- All UK schools to provide free classroom products to all who need them without shame.
- The UK Government has committed to a new action plan to end period poverty and shame in UK schools by 2025
- Politicians want to make the dignity of the era a right by legislating for it in England and Wales