PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Over the summer, Oregon became the first state to pass legislation requiring all schools to provide free period products in bathrooms, and now state officials are working to educate educators on the best ways to help students.
Lawmakers passed the Menstrual Dignity Act back in July, but many schools had questions about how to meet requirements.
To provide clarity to Oregon schools and prepare them as they strive to comply with the state’s new legislation, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released the “Menstrual Dignity for Students Program Toolkit,” Wednesday.
“The toolkit came out of so many questions we were getting about districts to really meet the needs of students,” Said ODE Sexuality Education Specialist, Sasha Grenier. “We’ve been hearing from students all across the state for years — and national data shows — that students need this.”
The digital toolkit outlines the law requirements, offers education and engagement training tips for staff and students, and answers many of the questions posed by school staff since the legislation passed.
Grenier said the information was designed to help schools focus on student dignity and equity as they implement the new changes.
“It really affects a student’s overall school trajectory when they don’t have access to products, or it’s not easily available in the bathrooms they go to,” Grenier explained. “So, we’ve been hearing a lot of thanks from teachers for both the passage of this law and the publication of this toolkit.”
Grenier told KOIN 6 News the program is much needed, as national research shows one out of four teens has missed class due to a lack of access to menstrual products.
“Kids miss school when they don’t have access to menstrual products,” Grenier stated. “One-in-five students has struggled to afford menstrual products. It’s a big deal but we know solutions, and we know what works.”