In the coming school year, menstrual hygiene products will be placed in the bathrooms of all Oregon public schools in grades kindergarten through 12, regardless of age or gender.
The move comes as part of the “Menstrual Dignity Act.” Per the bill, menstrual products must be offered in every bathroom of any building where children from kindergarten to grade 12 receive any form of public education, including those for boys and those considered all-gender.
The bill states that at least two student bathrooms must-have free menstrual products, tampons, and sanitary pads available in each public school; the remaining restrooms may charge students for such products.
Oregon’s school system has ordered 500 dispensers to start and could call for more.
According to the bill, every two years, the Department of Education will transfer no more than $5,595,000 to make tampons and sanitary pads available in every public school building. The General Fund will provide an additional $137,483 for the same purpose.
The bill was signed by Democratic Governor Kate Brown signed on July 1, 2021. Portland Public Schools released a statement in 2021 when the act passed so parents, teachers, and students would know what to expect.
As part of implementing the act, the Oregon Department of Education will provide a “student toolkit” that talks about the “four pillars of menstrual dignity” and will implement a program that includes “staff engagement and training, student and youth engagement, and family and community engagement.”
The kits include instructions on using menstrual hygiene products, instructions for classrooms so that students can learn about the products, and information for parents to help them navigate conversations with their children about topics such as menstruation.
Marc Siegel, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Education, told The Post that “the intention is that all students have an understanding of menstruation as a positive part of human development, without shame or stigma.”
A study conducted by Thinx Inc. concluded that 76% of students believe there is a negative connotation associated with menstruation, including that periods are “gross” or “unsanitary.” The poll also found that 65% of students do not want to attend school while on their period. Additionally, 38% of students claim they cannot perform well at school due to “the lack of access to period products.”
“As a mom, a new grandmother, and a Republican candidate for Oregon governor, I can’t believe we’re even discussing this,” Bridget Barton said to Fox News Digital. “America’s most unpopular governor, Kate Brown, is putting free tampons in the boys’ bathrooms of Oregon’s elementary schools. Clearly, Brown cares more about what’s going on in the bathrooms than what’s going on in the classrooms.”
Barton told Fox News that she filed an appeal with the Oregon Court of Appeals to stop the mandate and asked for a legal review. Barton argues that because the bill mandates menstrual items in all bathrooms, “teachers must provide transgender lessons to little children, so they understand the products in their bathrooms.”
“Children will be confused and uncertain about who they are,” says Barton. “The kids will have different conversations with their parents and not tell their parents what is happening in the school.”
According to Healthline, puberty usually starts at 11 but can begin as early as 8 or as late as 14. Elementary school starts at kindergarten with children as young as 5 years old and stops at either the fifth or sixth grade when a child is between 10 and 12 years of age.
“The chances that these tampons will be stuffed into urinals: 100%,” tweeted actor and father of two girls, Travis Wester.
The bill will go into effect for the 2022-2023 school year.