New Westminster made history Tuesday night when it became the first school district in the province to pay for menstrual products and dispensers in all of its schools.
“Your leadership is going to be an example to other school boards across the province and hopefully across Canada to improve education equality and access to education for all learners,” Douglas College professor and Vancouver parent Selina Tribe told trustees at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
“I am proud to have you as an ally as I continue to fight for this change.”
Trustees voted unanimously to approve the installation of coin-free dispensers for menstrual products in all of its schools. The move comes just over a month after Tribe met with trustees to encourage them to purchase and stock the dispensers. (She’s since met with Vancouver and Burnaby school trustees about getting dispensers for those schools as well.)
It’ll cost the New Westminster district about $10,000 to buy 30 dispensers and enough sanitary pads and tampons to stock them by September, just in time for kids to return to class. Ongoing costs of keeping them stocked is estimated at about $7,000 depending on use, according to district staff.
Trustees will now prepare a motion to present at the BC School Trustees Association asking the association to petition the ministries of education and finance to provide school districts in the province with funding to purchase, install and stock coin-free pad and tampon dispensers for all schools.
Trustees also pledged to support the United Way’s Period Promise campaign, which aims to provide menstrual products to all agencies that serve vulnerable populations.