School tells girls to request 'red card pass' while on their period

Parents’ fury as secondary school tells girls to request ‘red card passes’ while on their period so they can access toilets during class time

  • Penrice Academy pupils are not allowed to go to the loo during class time
  • The headteacher said the policy has been introduced to ‘maximise learning time’

A Cornwall school has come under fire from parents after it said that girls must request a ‘red card pass’ while on their period to go to the toilet during class time

The new policy at Penrice Academy in St Austell means that all pupils can only go to the bathroom outside of lesson time.

The headteacher defended the decision and said it was important to minimise disruption during classes.

The school also insisted that the rule will never prevent pupils from going to the loo if they really are in need. 

While some of the parents have also complained about the school enforcing its no coat-rule in corridors.

Parents have expressed their anger online after Penrice Academy, St Austell, said girls must request a ‘red card pass’ while on their period to go to the toilet during class time

Many parents in the area took to Facebook to express their outrage, Kim Bailey wrote: ‘Any human, child or adult should be allowed to use the toilets at any time.

‘They are hardly going to “please Sir I have a touch of diarrhoea”. Or “please may I use the loo my periods have started”.

‘If schools are all about care and nurturing children, some of these controlling and archaic rules need rethinking.’

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One mother added: ‘They should know by now that these rules are singling students out and will not be approved of by anyone.

‘Red passes are a ridiculous idea. This is a complete invasion of young girls’ privacy.’ 

Another concerned parent added: ‘The issuing of a red card is neither sensible or a reasonable response. It clearly singles out these young people. Who already have many pressures this is an invasion of their privacy.’

The school said ‘red card period passes’ can be requested ahead of time for pupils to keep in their bags and use when required.

They also shared with all parents in a newsletter the ‘long-standing school expectations regarding coats in corridors and access to toilets during lesson time’.

Lucy Gambier, headteacher of Penrice Academy, defended the policy saying: ‘All students are encouraged to wear coats on site at breaktimes and whenever they are outside a school building walking to another lesson.’

Headteacher Lucy Gambier said: ‘This policy is in place to maximise learning time and minimise disruption to teaching’

She continued: ‘We primarily ask that coats are removed once indoors so that students can represent the school with pride in their full uniform.

READ MORE: School barricades toilets with ‘metal gates’ to stop pupils using them during class time as outraged parents slam the move for being ‘against human rights’ 

‘Penrice students are welcome to use the toilet facilities at the start of the day, in between lessons, at breaktimes, lunchtimes, and at the end of the day.

‘This equates to 6 opportunities throughout the day, spaced no more than 75 minutes apart at any one time. This policy is in place to maximise learning time and minimise disruption to teaching.

‘There are, of course, exceptions such as medical conditions and unexpected arrival of periods; toilet passes can be obtained by students who require flexibility or peace of mind.

James Hammersley, the assistant headteacher, added: ‘We understand that girls cannot always plan for the arrival of their periods which may take place during lessons.

‘With this in mind, girls can request red period pass cards via their tutors which they can keep in their bags to use when required. This system has always proven successful, and many Penrice girls already know of and make use of the cards.

‘Crucially, this system operates on trust, and is monitored to ensure that the cards are used appropriately.’

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