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A father of three has started a petition to make period pains a legitimate reason why a child is absent from school.
Marcus Alleyne, from Cornwall, was left dumbfounded when he learned his 13-year-old daughter Izzy was marked as having an ‘unauthorised absence’ after it was noted that her period was the reason as to why she’s missing school.
You can watch the video here.
He is now petitioning the Department of Education to have dysmenorrhea (period pains) added to the list of ailments that are accepted for a child missing school – which has since received tens of thousands of signatures.
Speaking on Sky News, Marcus explained: “She was so unwell, we didn’t feel as parents it was right to send her in.
“We contacted her secondary school and informed them that Izzy was unwell. The school asked if it was due to period pains.
“I told the school that it was, that Izzy was feeling rotten, that she’d been up all night. We’d tried paracetamol, she hasn’t slept, and she just needs to rest.”
Marcus continued: “The school said that this would be recognised as an unauthorised absence.
“My wife and I thought…’why an unauthorised absence when this should be recognised as an illness?’ We had the notion that if this was any other chronic or returning condition, it’d be documented as an illness, rather than an unauthorised absence.
“Society is telling our young people that with menstruation, you just have to suck it up and get on with it, and to the extent that’s true. But we’re not talking about aches and pains, we’re talking about the point where you’re doubled over in pain.”
Marcus’s petition, which has since garnered over 32,000 signatures, has been widely praised by those who have also suffered crippling period pains.
“I suffered terribly as a teen, to the point ambulances were called.. it's not the same for all, but many suffer shocking pain,” one woman said.
“Absolutely nobody knows the pain a woman goes through with periods,” a second person said. “The pain is horrendous, headaches, sickness, sweating and that’s before the menopause!”
“There were times, when I fainted in school, vomited in class or just sat in class quietly crying with the pain,” one person recalled. “The distress was indescribable. I couldn’t pay attention in class when I was like that. Would have been better off being more comfortable at home and not disrupting class.”
And another added: “If someone would share the petition I would happily sign it. Period pain can be debilitating.”
It is thought that up to 10 per cent of people who menstruate suffer period pains that are so severe, it can disrupt their day to day lives.
You can sign Marcus’s petition here.
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