How Marjory Stoneman Douglas Students Are Using Mandatory Clear Backpacks To Address Period Stigma
The rule might be an invasion of privacy that misses the point, but the students are still doing what they can to make them count.
Despite widespread protest across the USA in recent weeks, it doesn't seem like national change to gun control laws are on the immediate horizon. And in response, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is taking a pretty bold step to keep its students safe in the wake of the mass shooting that killed 17 people on campus on February 14.
This week students returning to the school in Parkland, Florida following spring break were met with a new rule requiring all pupils to carry their belongings in a clear plastic backpack, supposedly in a bid to increase security.
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While this might seem like a simple measure to keep students safe, it actually brings up a whole lot of questions about students' right to privacy.
Being kept safe is obviously extremely important, but what's the real issue that needs addressing here: the fact that students could potentially be carrying anything in their bags? Or that a teenager has the right to walk into a supermarket and legally buy a gun based on minimal information and licensing?
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas have been sharing their opinions about the clear backpack rule and many are understandably frustrated about the invasion of their privacy, using social media to make some strong points about the double standard of this new school rule compared to the lack of laws in place to keep them safe from guns.
In an unexpected aside, however, this rule has also prompted a positive conversation about period stigma and the pressure those who menstruate face to keep our periods a secret.
One student whose eyes have clearly been opened about this is March For Our Lives co-founder Cameron Kasky, who's since armed himself with tampons after learning a few things about the shaming and financial pressures of periods.
"To those with questions about my tampon backpack - I only got lights," Cameron wrote on Twitter. "I didn’t know. Getting supers for tomorrow.
"Sizes, pricing...I’m learning new things about women’s health right now. This stuff is expensive. Steps must be taken to make these health products easier to access."
And while the clear backpacks really aren't about to do anything to solve the fact that these mass shootings keep on happening across the US, it is hopeful to see these students keeping on doing an arguably better job than those in power at implementing positive social change.