According to Leviticus, if a woman has an issue, and that "issue in her flesh be blood," then she is unclean. She must present a priest with two turtle doves or young pigeons in order to make things right.
At the Eagle Mountain‐Saginaw Independent School District, if an employee is experiencing "female bleeding," then she is anxious. Before she returns to work, she must sit down with a school-appointed psychiatrist. The approaches are similar, except that Leviticus was written gazillion years ago, before people knew anything, while the latter approach appears to still be in use as Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD's unofficial female bleeding policy.
Comanche Springs Elementary School Assistant Principal Kourtney Glaser was supposed to be on campus on January 28 for a mandatory training session -- the teachers were prepping for the STAAR tests. At work that day, she says, she noticed blood on her pants. She left campus and later checked herself into the emergency room.
She says a doctor told her she was suffering a complication from her intrauterine device, or IUD. The IUD had lodged itself into her uterus. It's not an uncommon complication -- many women have experienced heavy bleeding and other bad side effects from IUDs lodging in the wrong parts of their bodies.
Or that's according to doctors and women, anyway. The Saginaw ISD officials have a different explanation for why Glaser was bleeding. It's actually just her nerves, according to the diagnosis that a human resources director gave Glaser in a February 11 letter:
As you were being driven to your campus, you reported to the Director of Elementary Services that there was so much blood that it looked like a crime scene. It has also been reported where there are other occasions where you must excuse yourself because of female bleeding due to severe anxiety.
The letter is signed off by Karen Duke, the district's Director of Secondary staffing. In the letter, Duke admonishes Glaser for excusing herself to go the restroom that day and for panicking over her bleeding. "After some time in the restroom, you were found in the hallway crying," Duke's letter recounts.
Duke's letter does touch on another issue the district has had with Glaser's job performance, an apparent anxiety over public speaking: "Additionally, you have indicated to your direct supervisor that you cannot speak in public groups. You stated that when you do, people do not have heads."
In an interview with WFAA, Glaser defended her mental health. "I have some anxiety, yes; I get nervous, yes," she told the station. "But it isn't impacting my job. I've led trainings for the district, I've led parent groups, spoken at PTA meetings." In any case, there has yet to be any research we know of that proves a cause-and-effect link between anxiety and female bleeding.
After her IUD was removed, the district requested that Glaser receive medical opinions from two doctors -- only one of whom is a gynecologist. The other is a Fort Worth psychotherapist named Dr. James Williams. Good to know. If any of you women just wanted to talk to someone about your heavy vaginal bleeding caused by a foreign object lodged into your uterus, you should definitely call up this dude in Fort Worth.
Glaser was placed on administrative leave the day after her emergency room visit and has been getting strong support from parents since. While on leave, she has also been banned from attending school to drop off or pick up her daughter. "I am so upset because there was nothing I could do about the IUD," she says in a statement through her attorney. "Then not being able to be part of my child's life for the past three weeks has been very difficult. I loved my job, my fellow teachers and my students. We tried to resolve this but it was like no one was listening to my concerns. "
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Karen Duke, the human resources director, didn't immediately respond to a voicemail. But why should she? The letter she sent Glaser about her "female bleeding" tells you all you'd ever want to know about her medical credentials:
Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.