Junior Laura Ernsberger takes action

A period shouldn’t stop anything but a sentence

Junior+Laura+Ernsberger+is+combating+menstruation-related+absences.+A+period+shouldn%E2%80%99t+stop+anything+but+a+sentence.
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Junior Laura Ernsberger takes action

Junior Laura Ernsberger is combating menstruation-related absences. A period shouldn’t stop anything but a sentence.

Junior Laura Ernsberger is combating menstruation-related absences. A period shouldn’t stop anything but a sentence.

Abigail Gratzol

Junior Laura Ernsberger is combating menstruation-related absences. A period shouldn’t stop anything but a sentence.

Abigail Gratzol

Abigail Gratzol

Junior Laura Ernsberger is combating menstruation-related absences. A period shouldn’t stop anything but a sentence.

By Abigail Gratzol, Elkhart Memorial High School

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Laura Ernsberger was student-assisting in the nurse’s office when a student came in asking for a new pair of pants after discovering blood stains on her own. When the student was told that there were no pants, Ernsberger asked the nurse how often this happens.

Jennifer Geers, a nurse of fifteen years, said that as many as six girls request to go home every week due to bleeding through while on their periods. That’s one student every day that misses a day of their education due to a natural, uncontrollable process. This made Ernsberger feel that something needed to be done.

“I was kind of disappointed in the school,” Ernsberger said. “It’s kind of like they’re being—maybe punished isn’t the right word— but they’re not getting their education for something that just happens.”

In order to address the issue, the junior decided that she would start a “closet” to provide girls with pairs of back-up pants.

“I thought it was needed because too many girls were being sent home just in a week. And why would they have to go home if they have clothes here at school?”

She met a lot of controversy. Most friends she asked about her idea shot it down. Their thoughts were that, if they bled through their pants, they wouldn’t want the option to stay at school. They would just want to leave.

In order to gage a wider range of opinions, she decided to take a poll on her Facebook page. Still, the majority of people said that they would just opt to leave for the day.

“I was kind of upset,” Ernsberger said. “But there is that one person that’s not going to have a ride to go home and at least I can help out that one person.”

Geers also feels that more action needs to be taken.

“I have nothing. I mean, I have pads and tampons, but I have no back up,” Geers said. “I think the whole thing that Laura is trying to do with getting some clothes here so that girls don’t have to leave is cool.”

She feels that, if every girl brought a pair of pants for themselves, the problem would be eliminated.

Ernsberger is thinking a little smaller.

Abigail Gratzol
Junior Laura Ernsberger is asking for donations of pants in order to increase options for girls who bleed through. A period shouldn’t stop anything but a sentence.

“I’m asking for donations of pants— any kind— and I’m just collecting them and working with the nurse and stashing them in [the nurse’s office].”

“I thought it would be an easy solution,” Ernsberger said. “Girls will still have the opportunity to leave, but at least they’ll have access to something if they can’t. And I love being helpful.”

This story was originally published on GENESIS on May 10, 2019.