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Free period products to be available in Edmonton Catholic schools

Click to play video: 'Calls for removing stigma, providing free period products on Menstrual Health Day' Calls for removing stigma, providing free period products on Menstrual Health Day
(From May 28, 2021) Every May 28 is Menstrual Health Day and it’s a day when people around the world celebrate menstruation in hopes of removing the stigma around periods. As Caryn Lieberman reports, some say the pandemic has made period poverty an even bigger issue and are calling for free period products to help – May 28, 2021

Edmonton Catholic schools Grade 4 and up will soon have free period products in all washrooms.

The Edmonton Catholic School Division made the announcement on Tuesday, International Women’s Day.

“No student should have to skip class or feel embarrassed because they cannot access period products,” said board chair Sandra Palazzo.

Read more: Edmonton will provide free menstrual products in city buildings by June 16

While period products are currently available in the main office of all ECSD schools, this new initiative will see dispensers and disposal receptacles in all washrooms.

Last year, the advanced seminar class at St. Francis Xavier Catholic High School conducted a school-wide, student-led research project on a variety of students’ needs and concerns. One finding showed free, accessible period products was an issue for students.

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According to the survey, 94 per cent of female respondents, as well as the majority of male respondents, felt the school should offer period products as well as disposal options in all washrooms, as well as a concern from students around the cost of purchasing period products.

“Having to hide pads or tampons in their sleeves, asking a teacher for help, or worrying about missing class because of the lack of products at their disposal is one stress factor that could be alleviated by making products readily available to all those in need,” explained Kennedy Devlin, an AP student at St. Francis Xavier.

Read more: One-third of young Canadian women can’t afford menstrual products, report finds

A pilot program saw dispensers and receptacles have been installed at St. Francis Xavier since June 2021. The ECSD expects all schools to have dispensers and receptacles installed by September at a cost of $300,000. The project will be covered by the operations and maintenance budget.

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