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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students returned from spring break this week to a find a new safety precaution in place: mandatory clear backpacks.

To many students, the move — implemented after a shooter killed 17 people on their campus in February — fails to address the real root cause of gun violence: a lack of gun control.

"They’re just an illusion of security,"senior Kyra Parrow said, blasting the backpacks.

"My new backpack is almost as transparent as the NRA’s agenda," student Lauren Hogg mocked on Twitter. "I feel sooo safe now."



(Of course, policies like this are nothing new to students in primarily black and brown schools.)


There's one aspect about the clear backpacks, however, that might do some actual good, according to some students.

The see-through backpacks may shine a light on the fact that, yes, many students need to bring menstrual hygiene products like tampons or sanitary pads to school. And no one should feel ashamed for doing so.

"I remember the humiliation I felt if I started my period unexpectedly and had to whisper to classmates asking for a pad," Ayana Lage recently wrote for Bustle. "I eventually started going to the nurse's office instead of telling people I was menstruating."

The stigma is real. But hopefully not for much longer at Stoneman Douglas.

"The only positive about these backpacks is that maybe, hopefully, the stigma around periods will be removed," wrote student Delaney Tarr. "Also, that Cameron now knows how expensive tampons are."

The "Cameron" that Tarr is referring to is her classmate Cameron Kasky.

On April 3, Kasky shared a photo of himself carrying a clear backpack stocked with tampons. The gesture was Kasky's way of standing in solidarity with those who may feel embarrassed that now would be revealing when they needed to use the products to their classmates.

His smiling photo — captioned simply with #MSDStrong — quickly went viral. As of publication, Kasky's pic garnered over 60,000 likes and nearly 10,000 retweets.

"Every damn time I think I can’t love these young people more than I do, they do something to leave me even more in awe," Twitter user Kathleen Smith wrote.

"Yass Cameron," one classmate replied to Kasky's photo. "If only I had the confidence to do that." Kasky responded, "Here for you if you need anything... tampons and beyond."

And as it turned out, Kasky did learn about how expensive tampons are, just as Tarr had hoped.

I mean, seriously — for those of us who don't use menstrual hygiene products, they really can get pricey. It doesn't help that they're often taxed as though they're a luxury item — and not a basic necessity — too.

According to California assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, folks in her state who get periods spend, on average, $84 a year on tampons and pads. For those working hard just to make ends meet, that's a costly burden.

In a follow-up tweet, Kasky explained purchasing tampons was certainly an eye-opening experience. "This stuff is expensive," he wrote. "Steps must be taken to make these health products easier to access."

Things may seem scary nowadays — for a million different reasons.

But if the articulate, determined, big-hearted teens in Parkland, Florida are any indication, the future looks surprisingly bright.

"It started with gun control," Lage wrote for Bustle. "But students have made powerful statements about media representation and now period stigma. It's clear that these kids are smarter and more sensitive to current events than some adults."

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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