County school board supports fight against “menstrual poverty”
The local Catholic school board recently sent a letter in support of the Toronto Youth Cabinet’s efforts to lobby the province to fund menstrual products in Ontario schools.
A recent campaign backed by the local public school board says the province should pay for menstrual products in schools – period.
In response to a request from the Toronto Youth Cabinet, Simcoe Muskoka District Catholic School Board Education Director Francis Bagley and Board Chair Joe Zerdin sent a joint letter to the Minister of Education Stephen Lecce last week calling on the government to consider funding free menstrual products. in all provincially funded schools.
“All over the world, many girls and women cannot afford to buy menstrual products. Unfortunately, this problem also affects our communities here in Ontario. Lack of access to menstrual products due to economic factors is often referred to as menstrual poverty, which can be detrimental to puberty, when school interactions are crucial for students’ development and mental well-being, ”Bagley notes in the letter.
“No student should have to worry about having access to menstrual products,” she wrote.
The Toronto Youth Cabinet launched a call in March in Lecce to push for change, calling on the province and all 72 school boards to demand free and accessible menstrual products in all Ontario elementary and secondary schools funded by the ‘State.
They are also calling on the province to fund the program, that products be provided in a way that protects privacy, and that menstrual health literacy be added to the health curriculum as a mandatory requirement.
“The simple truth is that, for too long, we have ignored the issue of menstrual periods and the silence has hurt our young people,” the cabinet noted in its letter.
The firm cites other jurisdictions that have taken steps to provide free menstrual products in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island as well as Ontario school boards such as Toronto. District School Board, the Waterloo Region District School Board, and more recently the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
The Bluewater District School Board voted on June 24 to start offering free menstrual products at facilities serving Grades 4 to 12 students starting in September, in their washrooms.
In February 2020, the Simcoe County District School Board introduced a student council motion to have all SCDSB high schools equipped with a supply of free menstrual products to students, which was passed and implemented. artwork.
The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board also provides free products to students in need.
However, the programs of the two local boards are always funded by school board budgets or community donations.
“When people who have their period do not have access to the resources and information they need to manage their periods safely and with dignity, they are more likely to miss school and work, face risks of higher health and strive to reach their full potential, ”the cabinet noted.