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TVDSB to expand free menstrual product services across high schools

Tampon and pad vending machine . Richard Hoffman, Public Affairs Coordinator Thames Valley District School Board

In the fight against period poverty, the Thames Valley District School Board is expanding its pilot program to all schools within the board.

The student-led initiative is aimed at making sure all girls have access to free pads and tampons.

READ MORE: ‘Menstrual equity’ means free pads, tampons in all-gender bathrooms in London high schools

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Thames Valley Student trustee Sarah Chun led the initiative.

She said girls can face many challenges when ‘Aunt Flo’ comes for an unexpected visit.

“You’re left with a few options there, the first option is to stand up, leave the washroom, to go back to class, look around for a tampon and then ask to leave class again – but the second time your response from the teacher might be a little different because you just left to go.”

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Alternatively, she said teen girls can try to find a quarter for the tampon dispenser in the washroom, but added it’s unreasonable to expect girls to always have a quarter on them.

Additionally, Chun added it can be difficult for students with different socio-economic backgrounds to afford menstrual products.

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The initiative first started at Clarke Road Secondary School, which prompted Chun to talk to her principal at London Secondary School, who she said was very supportive in helping her and other students start the project.

Beginning next week, vending machines with free pads and tampons will be set up in all female and non-binary washrooms throughout the school board.

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READ MORE: TDSB to provide menstrual products for free to all students

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The move from Thames Valley is inspiring other boards in the province to take action.

The Toronto District School Board plans to roll out free menstrual products next week and similar initiatives are popping up across Canada.

WATCH BELOW: What is period poverty? Study finds women under 25 struggling to afford menstrual products

Click to play video: 'What is period poverty? Study finds women under 25 struggling to afford menstrual products'
What is period poverty? Study finds women under 25 struggling to afford menstrual products

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