New in the School: Free Menstrual Products


Vanesa Barragan

Free menstrual products are available in bathrooms throughout the school. The Period Clubs at the two district high schools brought the need to the school board’s attention, and a resolution was passed in January, four months before the Oregon legislature passed a similar law.

By Addison Flint and Molly Fast, Staff Writer

 When students walked into the bathrooms on the first day of school, they saw something new—dispensers that provided free menstrual products.

     On Jan. 25 school board members unanimously voted to have all schools in the Tigard-Tualatin School District provide period products in bathrooms, for no cost. This resolution came exactly four months before the Oregon Legislature signed The Menstrual Dignity Act into law on July 25. The law required all public schools in Oregon to have two bathrooms to provide menstrual products but will expand to having at least one dispenser in each public bathroom by July 7, 2021.  

     The Period Clubs at Tigard and Tualatin High brought light to this issue and members brought it to the school board. The Period Club’s mission is to end period poverty and stigma through advocacy and education. Emily Phuong Tran, a Period Club member at Tualatin High and last year’s student representative on the board, was a key leader in the movement. Students at both schools presented the board with research and personal testimonies to show board members the importance of free, accessible, period products.

     Tigard-Tualatin school board member Ben Bowman was compelled by student voices and advocates to help pass the policy.

     “Students provided moving personal testimony and compelling research demonstrating the importance of the policy,” Bowman said. “Ultimately, the board unanimously approved it.

     Period poverty is a worldwide issue that people face every day. Many students have to choose between necessities, such as food or clothes, or menstrual products. To help fight period poverty, states such as New York, Illinois, California, and now Oregon have passed similar laws to provide period products for students. 

     Having these products in the bathroom have brought a lot of students comfort and security regarding their period, such as sophomore Shelby Turner.

     “It makes me feel so much more comfortable going to the bathroom knowing I can get the supplies I need, and not having to worry about the cost,” Turner said. “It takes away some anxiety knowing that I would have a way to get supplies when needed.”

     Junior Karis Bomar felt similarly, “It’s definitely for me a sense of security, reassurance and feeling comfortable instead of embarrassed.” 

      Other students are excited to see this new change take place and have the school provide period products free of charge.  

     Senior Jamie Toda described her feelings. “I think it’s amazing; it made me really happy when I saw  the dispensers because I’ve always thought it was important.”

     Junior London Gambill agreed. “I love it, I think it’s awesome,” Gambill said. “It’s nice to have the option. The first thing I noticed when I came into the new school was that, and I thought it was amazing.” 

        Bowman hopes that more schools around the country take inspiration to provide students with menstrual products in the bathrooms to make an all-around better learning environment. 

     “This policy is about making sure every student has access to a safe and comfortable learning environment, and I am proud of TTSD for being an early adopter.

Updated Oct. 4

     The story did not quite end with the board decision, though. For the first few weeks of school, the dispensers remained empty. Students could not use the machines even if the were in need.

     The story actually ended with the custodial staff. New Head Custodian Chris Evans gave the final update.

     “The products were shipped in and actually filled the morning of Sept. 30,”  Evans said. “It’s custodial workers’ job to fill them each night so every day they should be filled.”