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A father is calling on schools to recognise period pains as a legitimate reason to miss school, after discovering it was recorded as an ‘unauthorised absence.’
Marcus Alleyne, from Cornwall, has gained more than 30,000 signatures on a petition urging for period pain – or dysmenorrhoea – to be treated the same as any other illness after he was told his 13-year-old daughter Izzy was not allowed to miss school while suffering from severe menstrual pain.
He first became aware of the issue around two weeks ago, when his daughter was left ‘doubled over in pain,’ unable to sleep and feeling ‘horrid’ as a result of period pain. ‘We didn’t feel it was right or appropriate to send her into school,’ Alleyne recalled. However, when the father of three contacted the school to let them know Izzy was ill, he was left shocked by the response.
‘The school asked if it was due to period pains, and I said yes… and the school’s response was that it would be recorded as an unauthorised absence,’ he told Sky News. ‘We had the notion that if it was any other illness or condition it would have been documented as an illness rather than an unauthorised absence.’
While Alleyne acknowledged that period pain was something that most women deal with during their lives, he said that the message sent by schools and wider society that people suffering from extreme pain should ‘suck it up and get on with it’ needed to change.
He told ITV:
We need to make significant changes not only to the institutions responsible for nurturing our young women and future female leaders but also need to educate the prehistoric mindsets of the policy creators and decision-makers.
I think some people have been particularly encouraged that it’s a dad standing up for young women, but I think that’s only because of the way we’ve been fed – that it’s only a ‘woman’s problem,’ but it’s not, it’s a social problem.
Alleyne’s petition has been signed by several students and parents who shared their own stories of being forced to go to school or work while suffering from cramps and other issues relating to being on their period. The Department for Education has not yet responded to the campaign.
You can sign Marcus Alleyne’s petition here.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
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