May 30, 2023 - Education

D.C. schools will now offer free menstrual products

Photo: Lou Benoist/AFP via Getty Images

Public and private D.C. schools are installing free menstrual product dispensers in an effort to increase menstrual education in schools.

What’s happening: The initiative is part of the District’s Menstrual Health Education standards, which kicked off last week following provisions the D.C. Council passed last year.

Why it matters: Students may avoid attending school during their period if they don’t have menstrual products or are afraid of bullying, per the World Health Organization.

Details: Dispensers will be placed in women’s and gender-neutral restrooms starting in elementary schools. Bright posters explaining how to properly use pads and tampons will also go up in schools.

  • Plus, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education released age-appropriate guidance for teachers on how to talk about the menstrual cycle.
  • Students in 5th grade will be given information on how to speak with an adult about their period, maintain proper hygiene, and identify and stop period shaming.

What they’re saying: “We do think there's a through line to ensuring we have healthier, more compassionate school communities,” Christina Grant, the state superintendent, told Axios. “It's really important that students understand the developmental milestones that they're experiencing in puberty, and as they think about sexual and reproductive health.”


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