Case made for free tampon dispensers in schools

Case made for free tampon dispensers in schools

Advocate says access, anonymity key to providing less stressful experience for female students

While female students do have free access to hygiene products within many school district’s in B.C., including School District #83, a B.C. professor says more could be done to make their experience stress-free.

Selina Tribe is a professor at Douglas College, and recently has become an advocate working to increase awareness of the importance of having tampons and other hygiene products available freely and anonymously in schools.

While tampons and other hygiene products are available from school offices and counsellors within SD83, Tribe feels an initiative in the New Westminster School District to offer free tampon dispensers in washrooms and other private areas within schools is less invasive and offers a less stressful experience for female students.

Read More: School District 83 ahead of the province on providing hygiene products

Read More: B.C. school district to give students free tampons, pads

“The issue is not whether there are free pads and tampons at schools, there are. The issue is the policy of school boards across the province to require girls to go to the office to ask an adult for period products,” she says. “Some girls are shy to ask for these things from administrators; some cultures have strong taboos against talking about menstruation at all. If girls are too shy to ask, they have to supply their own at significant cost that can be a financial barrier to low income families.”

She says these issues could largely be remedied by adopting the policy of providing free dispensers in washrooms, akin to the New Westminster decision, also recommending they be provided in boys’ washrooms to make them accessible for transgender students.

School District #83 trustee Marty Gibbons says he has raised this issue with the district, and that it remains in discussion at the budget committee. However, no decision has been made as of yet. This has also been discussed in the B.C. legislature, with B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver making a rough estimate that it would cost about $2.4 million to make dispensers available in all provincial school districts.

Tribe feels this issue isn’t just about preventing embarrassment, but ensuring female students won’t be missing out on valuable educational time.

Read more: Schools to be tested for radon gas

Read More: “Hangry” kids prompts petition for longer lunch time at B.C. elementary schools

“The issue boils down, at the school level, to access to education,” she says. “We know from testimonies, surveys, research, and personal experience that girls and women will avoid activities, athletics, and even miss school if they cannot manage their menstrual flow. College students have told me their parents kept them home for a couple of days each month so they could manage periods at home without embarrassment.”


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a feature article published April 10, 2021 in The Times of London, ‘headlined British Columbia has what it takes to rival Napa Valley,’ the valley is praised extensively for its natural beauty and wine. (File photo)
From the U.K. with love: Okanagan wine, scenery receives international praise

The Times of London newspaper recently featured the valley in a wine and travel piece

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

Peachland mayor Cindy Fortin is encouraging those who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to get their shot. (Mayor Cindy Fortin - Facebook)
Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

Interior Health nurses were administering COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aides in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Kelowna martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health previously issued a ticket to Flow Academy in February for non-compliance with public health orders

Forward Elan Bar Lev Wise of the West Kelowna Warriors (right, shown playing for the Vernon Vipers in 2019) has been suspended nine games by the B.C. Hockey League for being the instigator and aggressor in an after-the-game fight with Vernon’s Kjell Kjemhus Monday, April 12, at Kal Tire Place. Kjemhus was given a two-game suspension for his role in the fight after the game was over. (Morning Star - file photo)
West Kelowna Warriors forward handed lengthy suspension

Elan Bar Lev Wise fought Vernon Vipers forward Kjell Kjemhus after BCHL game was over Monday, April 12; Kjemhus suspended two games

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

A dumpster was on fire behind a residential complex in downtown Penticton Tuesday afternoon. (Brennan Phillips Western News)
Dumpster fire extinguished in downtown Penticton

There has been a string of dumpster fires lately

Skogie’s Express Tunnel Wash on Anderson Way in Vernon. (Submitted photo)
Lawsuit dismissed after vehicle damaged while inside Okanagan car wash

Civil Resolution Tribunal dismisses driver’s claim following a collision inside Skogie’s car wash in Vernon

The future of the Eagle Pass Lookout cabin is being discussed. (File photo)
Options presented for future of former Eagle Pass fire lookout in Shuswap

Stakeholders met in 2020 to discuss the restoration, or possible removal of the cabin

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

A shop up on Grand Oro Road near Twin Lakes burned down on Monday. (Facebook)
Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

Most Read