It may have taken school officials longer to install the new menstrual product dispenser in Brookfield High’s men’s bathroom than it did for students to show them what they think about the new offering.
The tampon dispenser was in the men’s bathroom for all of about 20 minutes last week before students destroyed it, an act of vandalism principal Marc Balanda described as disgusting and immature, CITC reports.
“I think it’s ridiculous, why would they put them in the boy’s bathroom?” New Milford resident Frank Giannone asked NBC Connecticut.
“There’s never any excuse for vandalism, but I’m a firm believer tampons do not belong in the boy’s bathroom,” Newton resident Dan P. added.
In an email to students, Balanda wrote “the installation was completed at 9:30 (a.m. on Jan. 24). By 9:52, tampons were on the floor, the newly installed distribution box was ripped off the wall along with the masonry anchors and the distribution box itself was destroyed.”
Balanda described the incident as an “egregious instance of vandalism and destruction of property.”
“Brookfield High School is approaching this matter from a restorative perspective in that they are providing both education on the issue and work to remediate this issue with students,” Brookfield Superintendent John Barile told the New Haven Register.
The dispenser stems from the district’s efforts to get ahead of a state law that takes effect on Sept. 1 that requires public schools serving students in grades 3 through 12 to provide free menstrual products in “all women’s restrooms, any all-gender restrooms (and) one men’s restroom per school.”
Balanda noted in his email to students that the law refers to a men’s bathroom, but those the vandalism and destruction “were the work of immature boys, not men,” the Register reports.
Wendy Youngblood, chair of the Brookfield Board of Education, told the news site any message students were trying to send was “obscured by its delivery.”
If a student “wants to make a point about some aspect of life at school, this is not an effective way of doing it,” she said. “Most importantly, it overruns the law and the rights of some people who need tampons.”
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Ridgefield CT Pride advisory board member Alex Harris believes the incident is a result of “socialized misogyny” and “socialized anti-trans hostility.”
There is no reason for teen boys to fear period products … the people who require them or the use of such products anywhere,” Harris told the Register.
“This sad incident is a perfect teaching opportunity, which … school administration needs to seize,” he said. “Schools are charged with imparting knowledge and understanding of reality to our youth. Menstruation and trans- or nonbinary people are simple facts of reality that threaten no one.”
Balanda has apologized to “those students who are negatively impacted by the lack of availability of menstrual products” in the men’s bathroom, and vowed “consequences” for the student or students involved, Patch.com reports.
Barile declined the Register’s request for more information about the number of students involved or what the “consequences” entailed.