West Linn-Wilsonville, Lake Oswego school districts receive funding for free menstrual hygiene products
The Lake Oswego and West Linn-Wilsonville school districts will receive a collective $73,500 in funding for free menstrual hygiene products for all primary and secondary students, according to proposed distribution figures released by the Oregon Department of Education.
Earlier this summer, House Bill 3294 — also known as the Menstrual Dignity Act — was passed, compelling all public schools to provide menstrual hygiene products free of charge to all primary and secondary students. The aim is to eliminate barriers to students who cannot afford products or are unable to access them at home.
"This bill is for all our students who have missed school due to lack of menstrual product availability," said Rep. Ricki Ruiz, D-Gresham, in a March press release. "As legislators, we must change our view of our educational systems from school-ready students, to student-ready institutions."
According to a survey conducted by Always, one-in-four teens have missed class because they didn't have access to hygiene products.
The proposed funding amount for each school district, which was publicized by the Oregon Department of Education in September, was determined by the student population size and the cost to add vendors in bathrooms.
According to the ODE chart, the West Linn-Wilsonville School District will receive over $41,000, and the district's only charter school, Three Rivers, will receive $508 for its 112 students. The Lake Oswego School District will receive $31,000, and Harmony Academy, which has 12 students currently enrolled, was granted $124.
Representatives from the Lake Oswego and West Linn-Wilsonville school districts told Pamplin Media Group that initiatives to provide free pads and tampons in bathrooms at the middle and high schools are in place, following multiple student's requests.
In response to a request by Lakeridge High School's student-led Period Project, the school district has provided menstrual products at no cost for students at secondary schools.
The district intends to use the ODE funding to add period products at the elementary schools.
"This new funding from ODE will help us subsidize and expand our free products for students who need them at all school levels," Mary Kay Larson, the Lake Oswego School District communications director, said.
A representative from the West Linn-Wilsonville school district told Pamplin Media Group that ODE had yet to share the latest funding figures with them. However, the district's tentative plan is to reimburse what they are already purchasing and brainstorm how to use the leftover funds.
"While we had already committed to this practice in response to the needs of our students, the district is excited to receive reimbursement in the future," West Linn-Wilsonville Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Spencer-Iiams.
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