A Douglas College professor says it’s not enough to just make feminine hygiene products available through school offices. (File photo)

Okanagan school district happy to make menstruation products more available

The B.C. government issued a ministerial order for more products Friday

Central Okanagan Public Schools may have been surprised by the B.C. governments release that tampons and pads must be free and available at all B.C. schools next year, but they’re not at all perturbed.

“We’ve always had them available,” said chairperson Moyra Baxter. “We’re happy to do it, we do acknowledge that they might not have been that easy (to get) for all students.”

“They should be more easily available, so (students) can go get them when they need them.”

READ MORE: B.C. schools must provide free tampons, pads to students by end of year

READ MORE: Case made for free tampon dispensers in schools

Baxter said that menstruation products were freely available to students, but that they would need to ask at the school office, and with more gender neutral washrooms coming to the district, students may have a larger sense of privacy if products are made available at a dispenser in the washrooms.

The B.C. government announcement came with $300,000 in funding for the 60 school districts in the province, but Baxter said Central Okanagan Public Schools has not yet been informed how that investment will be used.

From dispensary machines to education of the products, Baxter said they will play it by ear when they get more information from the province.

“We don’t know how it will work, but we don’t have any problems with it,” she said.

READ MORE: Pads and tampons already free at Central Okanagan schools

The district has been trying to get a step ahead of student needs said Baxter; by putting in more gender neutral washrooms in schools when renovations are being done. More easily available products like tampons and pads, was something the district had already been pushing.

Along with products being more available, the burden of the costs of products for a family will be lessened.

“They’re expensive,” said Baxter. “Hopefully it will help families with the costs.”

Central Okanagan Public Schools may be ahead of the curve of this student issue, but the government push will help other school districts in the province, who may be a few stages behind, catch up.

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