Feminine products postponed due to updating dispensers


Isabella Myers

Metea Valley maintenance staff installed new feminine hygiene dispensers in March. However, the dispensers are not regularly restocked and are frequently empty.

Female students around the school have noticed that the feminine product dispensers in the bathrooms have been empty for a few weeks, prompting a new investigation into the maintenance of products in female bathrooms.

Metea Valley journalists discovered that District 204 was refusing to comply with a new Illinois law requiring all high schools to provide tampons and sanitary napkins in school bathrooms last school year.  The Stampede published a follow-up article in the fall, highlighting the district’s continued failure to comply with the law, and several students spoke at a November school board meeting asking them to supply feminine hygiene products in girls’ bathrooms. By February, the district started placing products in bathrooms. However, students found that the supplies were not being regularly restocked.

Dispensers were to be restocked once a week, according to Metea Valley principal Dr. Darrell Echols. However, the dispensers have not been refilled for at least a month and a half. As of May 24, all the dispensers around the school are completely empty, except for two maxi pads in the girls athletic locker room.  

Ashley Hartke was astounded to hear that the feminine hygiene in the bathrooms were not being maintained. “I think it’s pretty upsetting that something that seemingly pretty simple to implement isn’t maintained.  It is important that it is [maintained] so female students aren’t put in uncomfortable situations over something that could easily be solved,” Hartke said.

Hartke discussed the inconveniences that a female may deal with, especially in a school setting.

“Young females may not know when they’re getting their periods. And so I think it could be frustrating. A quick trip to the bathroom can turn into one long production; having to leave the stall, find the product, then find out there is no product, they’re asking their friends, going back to class, asking the teacher to go to the nurse” Hartke said. Some students might be uncomfortable with saying that or not wanting to share that personal information. So again, something that could be such a simple trip to the bathroom can turn into 5-10 minute production, when it could easily be solved,” Hartke said.

This situation happened to sophomore Morgan Bond who shared the inconveniences of the dispensers not getting refilled.

“I had to go to the bathroom only to find out I got my period a few days early.  There were no products in the bathroom. I had to go back to my class, ask anyone if they had anything [to use] and no one did. Then I had to ask my teacher to leave again, she responded with, ‘You always have an excuse,” Bond said.  “The whole situation was embarrassing and could’ve been avoided of they re-stocked the dispensers.”

Echols is aware of the situation, and noted that the school is working toward better solution,  “We’re trying to restock once a week. We’ve had some people knocked down the containers. We’re trying to get something more stable that we can put on the wall install over the summer. But we haven’t purchased that yet.” Students can look for these changes at the beginning of next year.