PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Starting in September public school students in Oregon who menstruate will be able to get free pads or tampons.
The Legislature’s passage this year of House Bill 3294, the Menstrual Dignity Act, requires all public schools to provide period products free to elementary, middle and high school students, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
“This new program will help students participate actively in classes and school activities by alleviating some of the economic strain and experiences of shame that are often barriers for menstruating people accessing their education,” said Sasha Grenier, a sexual health and school health specialist with the Oregon Department of Education.
“This is a progressive policy, but also a bipartisan one,” Michela Bedard, executive director of advocacy group PERIOD, said in a statement.
According to a press release, a study conducted by PERIOD and the company Thinx “found that 16% of students have chosen to buy period products over food or clothes as a result of the pandemic — with Latinx, rural, low income, and college students being the most impacted.”
Educational settings will get state funding, Grenier said, “based on a formula which will consider the number of dispensers needing installation and the educational institution’s average daily student membership.”
Grenier said the products will be in at least two restrooms this year in any building where education happens and in all of those restrooms by June 2023.