An Illinois mother is outraged after her 17-year-old daughter was punished for bringing a purse to school, which she used to carry feminine products, according to a story published Wednesday by local news affiliate WQAD8.
Back in October, Galesburg High School principal Roy Van Meter imposed a rule that prohibited students from carrying purses in an effort to ban weapons, drugs, and cell phones. “Things like people texting in purses — in class or inappropriate items coming into class and so it wasn’t a single incident, it wasn’t even two or three, it was a combination of all those,” Van Meter explained to WQAD8 when the ban was first implemented. The school also prohibits students from bringing backpacks or book bags into the classroom.
However, on April 1, a 17-year-old student (whose name was not disclosed) brought a purple, gold-studded clutch to school for good reason. “She carries her personal feminine napkins in it, hand sanitizing lotion and wipes during her monthly cycle,” the girl’s mother, Carri Harding, told WQAD8 on Wednesday.
After a school official spotted the purse, Harding’s daughter was handed a green slip, assigning her to the In-School Structured Program, commonly known as “in-house suspension.”
Although Yahoo Shine could not reach Van Meter for comment, according to the school website, the purpose of the program is to “provide a disciplinary and educational alternative to the regular classroom.” In the program, students complete assignments that “may or may not be related to their classroom work," cannot participate in normal school activities, and their parents are notified of their violations.
It's unclear how many days Harding's daughter must attend the program, however, Harding calls the punishment “degrading.” She also told WQAD8 that her daughter could bypass the In-School Structured Program if she obtained a note from her doctor stating that she had a medical condition.
“Really, a medical condition? I mean, every woman has it every month. It’s not a medical condition, it’s nature,” Harding said in the interview. “I just think that, that particular aspect of their policy should be re-looked at and maybe gone about a different way.”
The purse ban is only the latest controversial school rule to hit the headlines. Earlier this month, a Florida school board member proposed a dress code for parents who she claimed dressed too sloppily. “Many parents pick their children up wearing curlers in their hair, sweatpants that fall down, and even pajamas,” board member and creator of the ban Rosalind Osgood told Yahoo Shine. “How can we teach our children to be serious about education if their parents don’t set the right tone?” And last May, according to an upset father on Reddit, his son's unnamed preschool prohibited kids from engaging in "superhero play" to prevent injuries.
Surprisingly, school spanking is legal in 19 states.