Dad-of-three girls campaigning to make period pains a reason to be off school
29 September 2021, 13:05
Marcus Alleyne is fighting to allow period pain to be recorded as a legitimate reason to be absent from school.
A dad has launched a petition to stop schools from recording period pain as ‘unauthorised absence’.
Marcus Alleyne lives in St Austell in Cornwall, and began fighting for change after his 13-year-old daughter Izzy had to take the day off.
According to PlymouthLive, when he called her secondary school and was asked why she was absent, Marcus explained she was feeling ‘really rotten’ and was suffering ‘serious period pains’.
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He was then told this wasn't considered a legitimate reason and Izzy would therefore be marked as ‘unauthorised absence’.
The 37-year-old has said he is appalled by the school’s response and said if his daughter had been suffering from a migraine, he ‘wouldn't be having this conversation.’
Marcus - who is a former Royal Navy medic and vice-chair of Black Voices Cornwall - said: "It got me thinking about what we could do. I contacted the school to schedule a meeting with the student welfare officer, but I haven't heard anything yet."
After talking to his wife Jo Marcus created a petition titled: "Period Pains (dysmenorrhea) need to be a legitimate reason for absence in schools".
Here, he calls himself ‘the proud father of incredibly courageous, fierce and strong daughters’.
Marcus writes: “I'm sure anyone who has had a period would agree, that at some stage, they have suffered significantly from Dysmenorrhoea, yes there is actually a medical term for ‘period pains’.
“The reason for this terminology is due to its being a globally recognised medical condition, with a variety of treatment approaches, from over the counter pain relief and a hot water bottle to surgical interventions.”
He continues: “By not allowing absences due to Dysmenorrhoea, which you are doing by considering them unauthorised, shows very clear disparities, and registering absences as unauthorised due to a medical condition only affecting women and people who menstruate is a clear demonstration.
“This leads me to the concerns I have surrounding ignorance of the condition, the impact of a CIS male-dominated field within the senior leadership teams in schools, or the sheer disregard for the physical, emotional and academic wellbeing of our pupils.”
Marcus finally adds: “How many young females, trans and non-binary pupils are being dismissed within the education setting, as a result of diminishing their experiences, and unilaterally deciding that their discomfort does not matter?”
The petition has since gained more than 25,000 signatures, with one person writing: “I wish I could sign this petition a million times!!! Not only are ALL the points VALID AND IMPORTANT, but I’m am so, so proud that this has been brought to the table for addressing by a man!”
Someone else said: “This is a serious problem not only in schools, but also in workplaces. Some countries actually have laws enabling "menstrual leave" for their workforce.”