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

New Westminster school board votes unanimously to spend $10,000 to implement free access

Members of a school board in the Lower Mainland have unanimously passed a historic decision to provide students with free tampons and pads.

The motion, discussed at New Westminster’s school board meeting Tuesday, said an estimated 2,800 tampons and 1,800 pads would be used across 13 schools each year.

Douglas College professor Selina Tribe, who proposed the idea, has been advocating for free menstrual products to be available in all schools across the country.

Tribe said providing these products would ensure fair and equitable access to all genders for basic toiletries. It would remove stigma and cost barriers that sometimes prevent students from fully participating in school activities, she said, “and help all students feel their bodies are valued, dignified, and normal.”

The total cost would be roughly $9,700 for installing dispensary machines, with an annual cost of $7,000 for supply.

One in seven Canadian girls have missed school because of their menstrual cycle, according to United Way, often because of stigma or the lack of access to pads and tampons.

The school district is looking to implement the free access by September.


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