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05th Oct 2021

Dad speaks out after school tells daughter period pain is not a valid reason to miss class

Sarah McKenna Barry

A young girl holds a hot water bottle to her stomach while sitting down.

“If this was any other chronic condition, it’d be documented as an illness rather than an unauthorised absence.”

The father of a young girl in the UK has spoken out against his daughter’s school who told her that severe period pain was not a valid reason to miss class.

Marcus Alleyne has since started a petition, calling for schools to recognise period pains as a valid reason to be absent from school. As it stands, dysmenorrhea, or period pain, is not currently listed as an acceptable ailment for a child to miss school in the UK.

In an interview with Sky News, Alleyne explained that his 13-year-old daughter Izzy missed school due to being sick from her period, but her absence was marked down as “unauthorised”.

Mr Alleyne said: “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.”

Despite Izzy’s condition, he was told that Izzy would receive an unauthorized absence.

“We had a notion that if this was any other chronic condition, it’d be documented as an illness rather than an unauthorised absence,” he said.

Mr Alleyne pointed out the message schools send by not taking the very real pain caused by periods seriously.

He said: “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’ petition to have dysmenorrhea recognised as a legitimate reason for missing school has amassed over 34,000 signatures. In the copy of the petition he wrote: “We have access to education in school, so why is it in 2021 that menstruation is still a stigma, why is it not being discussed?”