To continue with its ongoing efforts to bring equitable opportunities to each student, the Upper Canada District School Board has made menstrual products free and accessible in every school across the district and dispensers are now installed in all relevant washrooms.
Last spring, former UCDSB student trustee Tain Hughes brought forward a motion to the Board of Trustees, requesting the UCDSB formulate a policy that provides free menstrual products within its schools.
The motion was supported unanimously and set the wheels in motion for the UCDSB to implement the policy.
Over the summer, the UCDSB completed an inventory check and ordered 337 dispensing units and related products, which are now available at all the UCDSB schools.
Current UCDSB student trustee Eshal Ali, who attends Seaway District High School in Iroquois, says this initiative correlates with everything the school board stands for regarding its students.
“At all our schools, we want students to feel accepted and understood, and allow for open communication to resolve the issues we face with a goal to improve ourselves daily,” says Eshal. “This policy is a large step in the right direction as it helps resolve the issue of economic strain, increase equitability and accessibility, and the awareness of student needs.”
The UCDSB’s stance on equality and inclusion outlines a commitment to reducing achievement gaps and allowing for fair treatment and opportunities for all students, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, and other marginalization.
“While we have always had menstrual products available in schools, it was made apparent that we weren’t being consistent across the board. Now, all students will know where to get the products they need, when they need them, without having to worry,” says UCDSB Chair John McAllister. “We’re also appreciative that the province has recently added support to this initiative by supplying free products to our schools.”
Now attending Queen’s University, Tain says with the dispensers now in place, she hopes it has sent a clear message to its students and families.
“Just knowing that students, such as my younger sister, can now go to school with no external concerns of safety or judgement due to period products is incredible,” says Tain. “I hope this has left a legacy of care, accommodation, and empathy from the UCDSB, showcasing that they care and hear the students’ voices.”