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In accordance with a provincial order issued earlier this year, Surrey Schools has developed a plan that will see menstrual product dispensers installed in all schools by December 2019.
Currently, these products are available to students on a request basis only from counsellors, youth care workers or office staff.
The new plan would have menstrual products made available in six washrooms in each secondary school, three washrooms in each elementary school, and two washrooms in learning centres, SAIL (Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning), the District Education Centre and the Resource & Education Centre. There will also be products in one or more gender neutral and/or handicapped access washrooms at each site.
The ministerial order, issued April 6, requires all B.C. public schools to provide free menstrual products for students in school washrooms by the end of 2019.
In the Surrey School District, the plan is estimated to cost approximately $356,000, according to a staff report. To date, the Ministry of Education has not committed to providing funding to school districts for start-up costs.
In the event funding or budget capacity is not available, the district may consider an alternative implementation plan that would include providing products in baskets placed in washrooms; however, dispensers are preferred to ensure hygiene and tidiness.
The district is also required to develop policies and procedures regarding the provision of menstrual products, incorporating student feedback. Students are being surveyed this month and draft policy and regulation will be prepared to present at the first Policy Committee meeting of the 2019-20 school year.