MASSAPEQUA, NY—Massapequa Junior High School became the center of heated controversy Monday, when sixth-grader Jodi Bevell, 12, was charged with violating a strict non-disclosure pact between herself and best friend Stephanie Luedtke regarding the commencement of Luedtke's menstrual cycle.
According to reports, Bevell "totally swore to God" not to reveal an Oct. 25 incident of vaginal bleeding by Luedtke—her first ever—to "a single soul." But despite the verbal agreement, Bevell allegedly informed fellow sixth-grader Ashley Weinstein about the episode.
"I can't believe she told Ashley that I got my period," a visibly shaken Luedtke told reporters. "She promised she would keep it a total, complete secret, and now everybody in school knows. Even Jason Koerner."
Luedtke said that after nearly eight months of best-friendship, she and Bevell are no longer friends.
Though Bevell initially denied violating the confidentiality pact, she later admitted relaying news of the Luedtke menstruation to Weinstein. Bevell stressed, however, that she did so only under the strict condition that Weinstein promise not to tell anyone else about Luedtke's menstruation.
"I told Ashley that I would tell her something about Jodi, but only if she swore to keep it a secret, because if it ever got back to Jodi that I said anything, I would be so dead," Bevell said. "But then she went and told [sixth-grader] Erica Zumbo, and then Erica told the whole rest of the school."
Luedtke learned of Bevell's breakage of the confidentiality pact during a three-hour telephone conversation Sunday night with Stacy Schlieffen, who was informed of the Luedtke menstruation by a friend of Zumbo's and was able to trace the information leak back to Bevell over the course of a series of conversations during lunch hour last Friday.
"From a legal standpoint, this represents a serious breach of trust," Luedtke's attorney, Milton Miller, said. "When Ms. Bevell agreed to preserve the confidentiality of my client's event, she entered into a verbal contract, which is as binding and irrevocable as a written agreement. Bevell knowingly chose to disregard both this verbal agreement and the lex non scripta of 12-year-old girls as it universally applies to periods."
Luedtke said she first discovered that she had "gotten it" while in the bathroom during the four-minute break between third and fourth hour, but did not have the proper feminine products on her person to remedy the problem.
She did, however, have some in her locker. "Luckily I had some you-knows in my locker that I'd been hiding since the school nurse gave them out at the girls-only assembly," Luedtke said. "The halls were empty, so I was able to sneak the box and the instruction booklet back to the bathroom, but I still ended up being late for science class. When I finally got to class, I told Mr. Reisberg that I was taking care of an emergency, and he didn't make me show him a pass or anything. Oh my God, I hope he didn't know."
George Reisberg, Luedtke's science teacher, said he knew immediately that the girl had gotten her period. "Red face, near tears, whispering, sweatshirt tied around the waist—it was pretty obvious," said Reisberg, who said he has seen this scenario "hundreds of times" in his 22 years at Massapequa Junior High School.
Besides being among the first in her grade to experience her menses, Luedtke is also among the first to begin wearing a bra, a fact that has made dress-out days in physical-education class "a nightmare."
To deal with the newly added problem of menstruation during gym class, Luedtke has devised a plan to change in the locker-room toilet stalls during the days of her period. But the plan's long-term prospects are questionable: Luedtke recently heard an unconfirmed report from Ashley Weinstein's older sister that in seventh grade, "you have to take showers with nothing on."
As of press time, Luedtke is refusing to accept Bevell's apologies, rejecting all attempted phone calls, as well as a spiral notebook page passed during Language Arts with the cursive, purple-felt-tip-pen-written message, "Are you still mad at me? Circle YES or NO."
"Jodi knew the consequences of violating the pact, and she cannot abrogate the infraction ex post facto," Miller said. "Jodi will have to accept responsibility for ruining Stephanie's life."