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The Administrative Perspective
February 14, 2023
The ICCSD School Board has heard concerns from City students about the issue of period product availability in the bathrooms in the past.
“We have [heard from students in the past] and we know that [period products are] an ongoing issue,” said School Board Vice-President Lisa Williams. “We also know that the nurse’s office stocks those products, but it can sometimes be uncomfortable for students to go to the nurse’s office to get those and also [can be] inconvenient. Unfortunately, we also know that when we stock period products in some of the restrooms, some students take them and use them as they’re not intended to be used. And so it’s a difficult line for us to find where to put the products so that they’re accessible but also so that they’re being used as intended.”
According to Williams, the primary concern with stocking products in restrooms is misuse.
“I think misuse is really our primary concern. I don’t think that we have a financial barrier in stocking the restrooms with the products that students need,” Williams said.
Williams believes that lack of access to products shouldn’t be a barrier to learning.
“We’ve heard stories of how difficult the day can be for a student that doesn’t have access to products that they need,” Williams said. “And it’s a priority for us that that not be a barrier to learning.”
School Board President Ruthina Malone shares this sentiment.
“50% of our student population and our workforce would require some type of usage [of period products] at one point in time when they’re in our building,” Malone said. “We should not put students at risk to have an embarrassing moment because they couldn’t have the supplies that they need.”
Williams is supportive of policy change to get period products available in school restrooms.
“Absolutely [I am supportive of policy change],” Williams said. “If we can do so in a way that they’re being used as intended, and part of that may just be an education campaign for students – letting them know that it’s really important, why they’re in the bathrooms, what uses they’re for, respecting the intended use, and not abusing the products that are placed there for the benefit of the people that need them.”
Malone is also interested in addressing this issue in the future.
“[There] needs to be a way that we as a School District and/or community can rally together to take this need off the table for our students because it may sound small, but to someone in need is huge,” Malone said. “We have this huge need that we’re leaving up to our students to take care of other students. So as a district, I would hope that [there’s] a way for us to offset that need because [period] products aren’t cheap. Definitely something that as a District and as a Board that I would like to see us try and address.”