Dysmenorrhea: Cornwall dad petitions for schools to accept period pains as valid reason to skip school

A father to three girls in Cornwall was told by her daughter’s school that period pains are not a legitimate reason to skip school.

Marcus Alleyne, a father of three daughters, was shocked when his 13-year-old daughter Izzy was listed as having an 'unauthorized absence' despite being sick with period cramps. Marcus is a former Royal Navy medic and also the vice-chair of Black Voices Cornwall. After this incident, he has set up a petition for the Department for Education to recognize dysmenorrhea as a genuine reason for time off school.

Yes, there is a legit word for period pains, i.e., dysmenorrhea. He is now campaigning for schools to recognize period pains as a legitimate reason for absence.

A step in the right direction

The petition set up by Marcus instantly received 1000 signatures within the first six minutes of it being live. The petition has almost 40k signatures at the time this article is published. The 37-year-old father further commented:

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?
The message being put across is 'you need to go to work when you're not feeling well, you have to deliver, suck it up'.
I think after everything we've encountered during the lockdown and the greater understanding and focus on physical and mental health, that message is just twisted.

The reason for terminology for period pains is that it is a well-recognized medical illness that may be treated in a variety of ways, ranging from over-the-counter pain relievers and a hot water bottle to surgical treatments.

Showing disparities

Every woman in their life has at least once experienced being too sick because of period pains. As such it is really disheartening to see schools react to period pains in such a manner. Marcus phoned Izzy's secondary school to inform them that she will be absent in September due to period pains.

However, he claims the school called him 30 minutes later to inquire about what was happening and told him it was not a genuine reason for her absence when he indicated she was feeling ‘really rotten’ and in severe pain.

By not allowing absences due to dysmenorrhoea, which you are doing by considering them unauthorized, shows very clear disparities.
If I had said she was suffering a migraine then we wouldn't be having this conversation.

You can sign the petition here.

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