On December 12, parents of students in Golden and the surrounding region received a letter from the superintendent of the Rocky Mountain School District No. 6, Paul Carriere. The letter outlined a new policy to make menstrual products readily available to all students in designated washrooms, free of charge.
The adopted policy was a part of a well-publicized move from the Minister of Education in April of 2019, who issued a Ministerial Order requiring all B.C. Public Schools provide free menstrual products for students by the end of 2019.
“Some school districts independently of the Ministry of Education originally passed motions to make menstrual products free for all students,” said Carriere. “The main motivation was to remove the stigma. The Minister of Education thought it was a great idea, and that it should happen in all school districts.”
The new policy has the school board installing new dispensers in washrooms in schools across the district. Dispensers are currently in the process of being installed, with the process expected to be complete later this week, prior to students departing for the holiday break.
For Carriere, he understands the importance of this new policy, and how it works to make menstruation less of a taboo topic. It also makes these products more accessible to students, who previously had to go to the office and ask for menstrual products when they were needed.
“I think it’s important that we reduce and eliminate a stigma around menstruation. I think it’s important that students have access to these products in a way that protects their privacy,” said Carriere. “For those kind of reasons I think it’s important for students, for us to take the effort out of it, and make it easy for students to get these products when they need them.”
The added expense of the menstrual products will be covered in part from grants that are provided by the ministry to make these products available. The rest of the costs will fall under the school district’s regular operating budget.
“It’s the same place that we use to pay for other kinds of supplies that we provide across the district,” said Carriere.
While the school district hasn’t received any direct feedback, Carriere believes that the change is widely supported by parents. The information that free menstrual products were coming to the district was well known for months prior to it becoming a reality, and was a universally applauded move by the Minister of Education at the time of the original announcement.