District administrators put feminine hygiene products into girls bathrooms across all District 204 high schools as of last Tuesday, Feb 19. These products give girls the opportunity to have access to these products without having to go to the nurse’s office.
The Illinois Legislature passed the Learn with Dignity Act in September 2017. This act requires schools to provide feminine hygiene products free of charge in school bathrooms. Students at Metea Valley spoke about their concerns regarding this law to the District 204 board at a meeting last November.
After students presented in front of the District 204 board, district administrators, along with Principal Dr. Darrell Echols, decided to satisfy the needs of students by implementing these products into all girls bathrooms.
Echols believes that the school was already in compliance with the law before students shared their position. “Technically we were in compliance with the law because we did have them in bathrooms. We just didn’t have them in every bathroom,” Echols said.
Students are happy with the changes being made. “I’m glad they put them in there for emergencies,” sophomore Abby Jue said.
After speaking with District 204 officials, Echols, along with Waubonsie Valley principal Jason Stipp and Neuqua Valley principal Bob McBride, decided to create a new system in which tampons and pads would be placed in baskets in every girls bathroom. This gives students the opportunity to use the products supplied to them for free, whenever necessary, in hope that they won’t lose class time searching for products. They also don’t have to take unnecessary trips to the nurse’s office to get these products, which is where extra products were being stored before.
“We want to make sure that we have something that is consistent that could be placed in all of our high schools,” Echols said.
Students generally use these products when they don’t have any products with them and are in class, or when they can not find something from a friend.
“I think it is nice to know that there is something there just in case something happens and you don’t have your own, for emergencies,” sophomore Elizabeth Nagy said.
Many students find it helpful to have the products. Even if they don’t feel the need to always use them, they appreciate that they are there.
“I say that it’s convenient for those times when you don’t have anything with you and it’s urgent, but I personally always carry extra with me and have never had to use the school’s products,” sophomore Jordan Naffziger said.
For Echols, the main purpose of implementing this is for the comfort of Metea’s female students. “We heard the voices from our female students, and we decided to make sure that we were servicing them the right way,” Echols said.