DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter goes to a Catholic K-8 elementary school. She wears a uniform and has very little freedom within the school. My daughter recently started her period, and she needs to go to the restroom more frequently than other kids. The problem is that the whole class walks down to the bathroom together twice a day. No other bathroom breaks are allowed unless it is a total emergency.
I know my daughter won't bleed through her hygiene supplies; however, she is still getting used to this whole process and wants a second to be totally sure that she won't bleed onto her seat. I was thinking about contacting her school about the bathroom rules, but I don't want to mortify her. What would you do in my situation? -- Menarche, Philadelphia
DEAR MENARCHE: This is a time when you probably should intervene and make the call. You can ask the administration to be discreet about dealing with your daughter's situation so as not to embarrass her. The tricky part, however, is that whether they say anything to her, the class will notice if she is leaving the room independent of the group.
What you may want to ask is what policy they have in place to deal with students entering puberty. Obviously, your daughter is not the first student who needs to tend to her personal hygiene in this way. Do your best to work with the leadership to help your daughter without creating undue embarrassment. Be sure to let your daughter know that this is happening so that she is not caught off guard.