Excerpt:

It's rare that I see a photograph that makes my blood roil in anger. Or that leads me to share the opinions of Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick. But a picture published in Saturday's Star managed to do both in one afternoon.

The photo depicts a row of girls, sitting in the cafeteria of Valley Park Middle School in Toronto. The row is segregated behind a mass of students who are participating in an Islamic prayer service. The reason the girls in the back are not praying is because – wait for it – they have their period.

One is tempted to say: is this the Middle Ages? Have I stumbled into a time warp, where "unclean" women must be prevented from "defiling" other persons? It's bad enough that the girls at Valley Park have to enter the cafeteria from the back, while the boys enter from the front, but does the entire school have the right to know they are menstruating?


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