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Menstrual product dispensers have been installed in all Surrey and White Rock schools.
More than 260 dispensers are now in designated secondary and elementary school washrooms districtwide, as well as in learning centres, the District Education Centre (DEC) and the Resource & Education Centre (REC). At each site, products are available in one or more gender neutral and/or handicapped access washroom, as well as female washrooms.
Installation of the machines, which provide menstrual products free of charge, was completed during the winter break in late December. Under a Ministerial Order issued last spring, all B.C. public school districts were required to provide free menstrual products for students in washrooms by the end of 2019.
Previously, menstrual products were made available to Surrey students upon request. The dispenser installations allow schools to provide products in a manner that better protects student privacy.
"It's so important that students have free, easy and discreet access to pads and tampons when they need them," said Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurie Larsen. "The board is more than pleased to have made this move. We hope it not only provides barrier-free access, but contributes to reducing and eliminating stigma around menstruation."
Purchasing and installing the machines and disposal receptacles, in addition to site preparation and signage, cost approximately $193,000. The provincial government contributed $26,0000.
You can view the district's new Provision of Menstrual Products to Students policy here.