Mum’s fury as school ‘refuses to let pupil use toilet during her period’

Plan International UK has criticised the Hastings Academy for its actions
Plan International UK has criticised the Hastings Academy for its actions

A furious mum has slammed a school for refusing to allow her daughter out of lessons to use the toilet during her period, leaving her sitting in blood-soaked clothing.

The distraught 11-year-old, who was experiencing her first menstrual bleed, went home with bloody knickers, tights and shorts following the incident at Hastings Academy on Monday September 17.

The mum said staff told the Year 7 pupil she would need a ‘toilet pass’ to allow her out of lessons, but she could only obtain it with a doctor’s certificate - costing £15.

The girl’s mum, who the Observer has decided not name in order to protect the pupil, said: “I cannot see why I am paying £15 for my daughter to use the toilet for something that is no fault of her own.”

She said her doctor was “gobsmacked” by the school’s demand, but wrote a letter anyway.

However a toilet pass was not issued until Wednesday, she said.

The mum added: “It’s her first proper period and it started on the Saturday. It was quite a lot.

“Monday morning she got up and said it was still really bad.

“I said she could have the day off school, but she wanted to go.”

The incident has left the girl feeling anxious.

Her mum said: “She’s frightened in case it comes through on a chair and she has to clean it with her skirt.”

The mum said two female members of staff had asked her what action the doctor was going to take to lighten her daughter’s flow.

She said: “I said I did not agree with giving my daughter something to stop something which is natural being a woman.”

She added: “I also raised a concern about staff members smoking outside.

“They said they have to allocate smoking breaks.

“It’s a choice to smoke, but not a choice to have a period.”

Her mum told the Observer: “She’s at school on time every day, fully prepared, in full uniform, smart, presentable and she’s doing everything the school asks and they can’t give her that bit of leeway.”

A spokesman for the University of Brighton Academies Trust, which runs Hastings Academy, said: “We are extremely sorry for the upset caused to the student and her family.

“Students’ welfare is our paramount concern and staff at all of our academies work extremely hard to ensure their safety, comfort and wellbeing.

“We do have a practice of issuing toilet passes at The Hastings Academy. This was introduced to avoid the abuse of toilet breaks during lesson time.

“We initiated a system of toilet passes to counter this problem and this has succeeded in addressing the issue.

“In this particular case, a toilet pass was issued the next morning.

“We are committed to ensuring that we have a responsive and flexible toilet pass system, and will be reviewing the practice to see if any improvement can be made.

“Medical certificates are only required in certain circumstances but we accept they are an additional cost.

“This issue is something we will also be reviewing.”