Beginning this fall, Boston’s public school system will offer free menstrual supplies to students within the district. The pilot program, which is being rolled out to a total of 77 schools, will provide period products to students in grades six through 12.
The program, which has been spearheaded by Mayor Martin Walsh, isn’t the first of its kind in the country. Last year New York and Illinois rolled out similar programs, and California schools provide free menstrual supplies to students in low-income school districts.
Consequences of Period Poverty for Students
Period poverty is commonplace in other countries where access to menstrual products is limited by availability and financial stability. US teens from low-income families are also at risk of experiencing consequences.
Boston’s program was created in response to a growing awareness of just how many American students miss out on education opportunities due to the presence of their period. According to the most recent Always Confidence & Puberty Survey, almost one in five students have been forced to leave class early, or miss school entirely, because they lacked access to products like pads and tampons.
Always explains without these products, pubescent teens are missing out on opportunities to join in “confidence-building activities” in the classroom, athletic programs and extra curricular school programs. Missing activities like these has the potential for long-lasting consequences, based on the Always report.
Game Plan for Boston’s Pilot Program
Mayor Walsh says Boston’s program will begin in fall 2019, and hopes the pilot will lead to more equality in the school system, quoting the findings from the Always survey in his statement.
Initially, period products will be distributed to school nurses by Boston Public School Health Services. Once the program is up and running, teachers will be able to partner with school nurses to distribute pads and tampons. as well.
Walsh has already set aside $100,000 for this program from Boston’s budget for the 2020 fiscal year.