By TANVI BARGAJE
A petition set up by the club Code Red, to provide free menstrual hygiene products in the UHS bathrooms, has been signed by 305 students so far. It was released on January 17th.
The petition aims to urge school administration to provide pads and tampons in all the bathrooms on campus for students to access.
“We wanted to emphasize that this is not just something our club wants but the student body at large,” Junior and Code Red Publicist Raniyah Chishti said. “A certain amount of signatures doesn’t mean we will get free hygiene products but helps our endeavors. We aim to work with the administration in implementing these products, and showing that the student body wants them gives an incentive to actually going through with it.”
The petition strives to acknowledge that menstrual products are a basic hygienic necessity for those who have periods. According to the Code Red board members, the inability to access them affects a student’s freedom to study, be healthy, and participate in society with dignity. Not having access to these products can prompt social, academic, and hygienic discomfort among students.
“When someone needs a tampon or a pad, they have to pay the nurse money to keep up simple hygiene,” Chishti said. “We believe as a club that hygiene products should be provided free of cost and be viewed as what they are – hygiene products. They should not be viewed as a luxury or unnecessary.”
The US Department of Education’s stated mission is to “promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.” Code Red believes that the US Department of Education should uphold the value of “equal access” to educational excellence by allowing students to access the basic human necessities amidst their academic growth at school.
“There are so many people who have access to free condoms but pads are 25 cents,” Junior Isabella Snetsinger said. “It doesn’t make any sense because sexual activity is a choice whereas periods are an unpreventable biological phenomenon.”
Code Red is a part of the organizations Days for Girls and the Period Movement. Both emphasize the need for providing female hygiene products around the world to those who need them as well as opening up conversations around periods themselves.
“Our club hopes to erase the stigma around periods and the taboo the name seems to have,” Junior and Code Red Treasurer Samantha Wiedemann said. “[Students] should not be using unsanitary means to tend to something that is completely natural and forced upon them.”
Code Red club meetings involve opening up a conversation about periods through Period Movement workshops like Cup and Cloth as well as packing parties to make period packs to donate to nearby shelters like Families Forward.