School hails period products

Queen’s High School prefects (from left) Emma Robertson, Chloe Wood and Daisy Kitto-Thomas (all...
Queen’s High School prefects (from left) Emma Robertson, Chloe Wood and Daisy Kitto-Thomas (all 17) celebrate the arrival of the first Government-funded period products in schools. PHOTO: JOHN LEWIS
Another barrier has been brought down.

That was Queen’s High School principal Barbara Agnew’s response when the first free period products arrived in Dunedin schools this week.

The nationwide roll-out of the products in schools is funded by the Government as part of wider efforts to combat child poverty, help increase school attendance, and make a positive impact on children’s wellbeing.

About 1680 schools and kura across New Zealand have now opted-in to the period products in schools initiative, and these schools can now place orders for tampons and pads.

Schools that had not yet opted-in could still to do so.

In Otago and Southland, 140 schools have signed up to the free period products in schools programme, and 61 of them had their products dispatched this week.

Ms Agnew said being able to make the products available to all pupils was "fantastic".

"Young people don’t always have access to the products they need to feel comfortable at school, engage in their learning, and manage what is a normal and healthy part of life.

"They can also miss out on sporting and cultural activities and can feel embarrassed about not being supported to manage their periods.

"To have products freely available will have a positive impact on their wellbeing.

"It is difficult to say what impact this initiative will have on attendance, but what I do know is, this is one less barrier for our young women in attending school every day."

Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti said up to 95,000 9-to-18 year-olds stayed at home during their periods because they were not able to afford period products.

"By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school."

She said the positive response from pupils to the pilot programme had encouraged the ministry to expand the initiative to all New Zealand schools and kura.

"The nationwide roll-out will reach more than 300,000 female pupils.

"Feedback from schools and kura shows there’s an urgent need for free period products, so this first phase of the nationwide roll out is focused on getting products into schools and kura as simply and quickly as possible."

Subsequent phases would refine the distribution model.

"For example, student direct orders, bulk supply distributed through a trusted adult, dispenser units in bathrooms — and look at education tools."

The free period products in schools initiative is the latest in a series of Government programmes to reduce barriers to education for all pupils and their families.

Others include healthy free school lunches, the abolition of exam fees, and the replacement of school donations.

Comments

What a disgrace. Read Reich to understand what labour is up to:

"zur sozialistischen Umstrukturierung des Menschen" ("for the socialist restructuring of humans"

 

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