School needs more tampon dispensers


This map of the school indicates where the current dispensers are (in pink) and where more must be added (in blue). The cost of adding three more would be $1,050 at $350 a piece, the same price as the first three.

Kennedy Graeser, Staff Writer

Out of all nine bathrooms, there are only three bathrooms in this entire school that have a tampon or pad dispenser. There are over 800 girls in this school, not counting teachers, so obviously three dispensers will not suffice. Tampon and pad dispensers should be regular in every girls’ bathroom in the school.

There used to be machines in the bathrooms. “When I started here eight years ago I was told by the previous nurse they were taken down because of vandalism, all of the dispensers were taken down and not replaced,” nurse Susan Krebs said.

Tim Kline, director of buildings and grounds and also a former high school custodian, confirmed the vandalism story.

“We did take them out because they did get vandalized, but that was quite a while ago, hopefully now that we’ve got different students we won’t have a whole lot of vandalism,” Kline said. “I think it’s something we can revisit.”

Installing the three new machines was debated for awhile because of the added upkeep required. “I guess the other issue is where and how many, which ones get stocked, which ones don’t, who is in charge of the money who stocks the machines,” principal Brent Riessen said. “All that kind of stuff is stuff that’s kind of left out there, that’s not solidified. It’s not so much that there’s a no, it’s that there hasn’t been stuff wrapped up in regards to that.”

That is a fair point, but how about instead of saying it has not been wrapped up so we can’t put in machines, how about work on wrapping it up so the females in this school can have the supplies they need monthly.

“It was about 350 [dollars] a piece to install them, our staff, my staff, basically fills them and then they take the money that comes out of them and gives them to Mrs. Von Hagen (Sharon, high school book keeper)  and it goes back into the general budget to supply getting more,” Kline said.

It seems a pretty simple process to me, so why did the three only get installed last year? Kline said the vandalism happened in the early 80’s so it took nearly 30 years before they were put back in the building, which is not okay. In a high school full of teenage girls and grown women, it should not be necessary to go down to the nurse’s office to grab what they need. When a parent finally contacted a board member, it opened eyes to this issue.

“It all sparked from a parent that had a good question; ‘why, at the high school, do they have to go to the nurse’s office?’” Kline said.

A conversation with board member Jill Morrill eventually led to the three going back in the building. “I told her that I would see if there was anything I could do to help, I asked her to send me the information that she had gathered about it and she did,” Morrill said.  “After visiting the schools and reading the information that Ms. Krebs had sent me I believed that it would be an appropriate matter to refer to Mr. Tim Kline, our Director of Building & Grounds. I talked to Mr. Kline about it and asked if it was something that might be handled by his department.”

Kline agreed to take on the issue. “I went around talking to the nurses primarily here and the 8-9 building, and if we put them in, who’s going to maintain them, is this something we really wanna do?” Kline said. The middle school and high school had different views. The middle school nurse thought it’d be best to supply them in her office because students may need some guidance on the issue, but in the high school it was agreed it’d be better to put up the dispensers.”

It’s great that we have some, but three is not enough, and currently they are all stationed on one side of the school. “I can see adding one dispenser on the second floor and possibly one in the 100/500 hallway bathroom,” Krebs said. “But, three in the building is better than none.”

When supplies run out in the nurse’s office, she will not purchase anymore because the machines are up. So a student has to hunt the building for a machine in an emergency. A student in the English hallway would have to go across the school to get to the closest one and someone upstairs would have to go downstairs and to the middle of the school to get to the nearest one. When the nurse runs out there’s a possibility of three machines getting used too much and running out of supplies quickly.

“We aren’t always prepared,” junior Roslyn Blair said. “Unless that time of the month is very regulated, and for most of us they aren’t, we’re not definite when the time will be coming.”

Blair brings up a good point, because many will argue that girls should be prepared because they know when it should be coming, but sometimes we simply are not.

Before the machines were put in about a year ago, there were supplies in the nurse’s office, there still are and there still will be if people continue to donate supplies. But when donations cannot keep up with demand, or they stop altogether, we will be relying on three bathrooms all oriented to one side of the school.  Having machines in a bathroom is good because they are right there, so students do not have to go looking all over the school when an emergency pops up. “Not all students like to come here to ask me, some kids don’t care, they’ll say ‘hey I got my period, do you have extra pads?’ Other girls are devastated to even ask me,” Krebs said.