Boston schools to provide free menstrual products

Boston students will no longer have to scramble to find a pad or tampon while in school. Starting in the fall, Boston Public Schools says it will begin providing free menstrual supplies to schools that include students in sixth grade and above. The $100,000 program was announced on Monday in a joint statement from the district and Mayor Marty Walsh.

“This pilot program is about equity in our schools, and among our young people,” Walsh said in the statement. “Nearly one in five girls in the US have left school early, or missed school all together because they didn’t have access to menstrual products.”

There are 77 schools in the district that include sixth grade and above, according to the release. The supplies will first be available in school nurses’ offices, and after the initial pilot, nurses will partner with select teachers, who will also hand out the products.

Walsh added the investment to his fiscal year 2020 budget, which was resubmitted Monday.

“Offering free, easily accessible menstrual supplies means that more students will have access to the supplies they need, and are able to stay in class and focus on their education,” Interim Superintendent Laura Perille said in the statement.

The move comes less than two weeks after Boston city councilors took up a measure to put menstrual products in schools, libraries and municipal buildings.

Last month, Brookline announced it would offer free tampons and pads in all of its public buildings, including the town hall, libraries and the rec center. The town decided to add menstrual products to the budget after a Brookline High graduate wrote a column in her school paper about “period shaming.”

WBUR 90.9FM and the Reporter share content through a media partnership. This article first appeared on the WBUR website on June 18.