Menstrual leave at school, the revolution starts from Ravenna thanks to a 17

Two days at home without having to justify the absence: the “Nervi-Severini” art school in the Romagna city is the first in Italy. Thanks to the principal and a very young school representative, who fought to obtain menstrual leave.

Since the approval of a resolution of the school board in some historic ways, dated 20 December 2022, the news immediately made the rounds of the country improperly speaking of “menstrual leave”. But as specified to the microphones of Gianluca Dradi, principal of the art school of Ravenna “Nervi-Severini”, the one introduced is something slightly different, even if only in formal terms. “Leave is an institution that applies to workers and it is clearly not what we can do in a school. Rather, she explains, what we have just done was reasoning on the absences of female students, because the law imposes, for the validity of the school year, compulsory attendance of at least three quarters of the personalized timetable, with the possibility, however, for schools to identify exceptional and documented ones exceptions to this maximum quota of absences, which can be accumulated during the year. And that’s exactly what we did.” In other words, the Ravenna school directed by Dradi has become the first in Italy to give the possibility, to the students who request it, to be absent two days a month in case of certified dysmenorrhea. Simplifying further, it is in any case a sort of menstrual leave to give young people enrolled in the Romagna art institute the opportunity to stay at home, avoiding having to go to school despite the very often excruciating pain caused by the period.

“We have identified as an exception the specific one of a form of menstrual cycle pathology which is dysmenorrhea, which obviously requires a medical certification – continues Dradi – but which we do not expect every month. A certificate once a year is enough and then the absence is simply justified like all the others, through the justification booklet. The profound meaning of the initiative -continues the president- is to create a climate of well-being at school, that is to take care of the psychological one of male and female students, for example by recognizing them as subjects with their own problems and characteristics. But it also serves to create a welcoming atmosphere ea promote their citizenship skills: a legitimate request of the female students is channeled within the school democracy, i.e. in the collegial bodies, and finds a solution”. It was one of them who raised the question, succeeding in bringing the school to meet this need of female students. Her name is Clare Pirazzini, eighteen years in a few months and an idea crept into his head for some time.

“From the very first meeting we realized that it was something very feasible”, explains Chiara. The principal was very helpful and therefore I’ve never been discouraged. However, I have informed myself a lot, I have seen all the European situations in which it is already applied and I have also done an internal survey at school through which several girls, anonymously, have told of how bad they too are during their period “. Girls who can’t get out of bed, who have to lose days at school from the evil proven or who even “are passed out in the corridors” for the pain. The opinions in favor of the initiative therefore arrived in record time both from Chiara’s companions and from her male colleagues, as well as from representatives of other institutes in any region. But the dream is that the same example be followed throughout Italy. “Since the first year I have lost at least one day a month of school for this reason”, Chiara continues. I suffer especially in the first two days of my period, with cramps, back pain, nausea. I can’t even sit up and I feel pain just holding my jeans tight. And it’s a constant annoyance that doesn’t go away with meds”.

“I hope this thing pushes not only the schools but also the Government”, she concludes-. I have read that even adult women are asking for leave to be introduced from the point of view of the law. I think that when in a society or in a portion of it, like a school community, a right is introduced, in reality everyone benefits from this right”, underlines instead the principal Dradi, who finally adds: “Because there is an inclusive and democratic climate within the school and you learn that you can fight for your rights which can find a positive outlet, obviously when they are sensible”.

Menstrual leave at school, the revolution starts from Ravenna thanks to a 17-year-old student