(File photo)

Surrey trustee says free tampon idea ‘top of mind’ after New Westminster’s decision

Surrey school board chair Laurie Larsen says idea ‘would be entertained’ but cost would be high for a large district

The chair of the Surrey Board of Education said she thinks the idea of free feminine hygiene products “would be entertained” in this district, following New Westminster’s board passing a historic decision to provide students with free tampons and pads.

“There’s been some casual talk about it off and on, but nothing so far that’s been serious,” trustee Laurie Larsen told the Now-Leader on Wednesday. “Certainly it’s something that will be top of mind now, with New Westminster making the move.”

But, Larsen noted such a decision is “a lot easier for a small district.”

“With a district as large as Surrey, and looking at all of our elementary, high schools and learning centres, it’s a much larger cost,” she said. “It’s not the cost, really of the product. It’s getting the equipment installed. I heard New Westminster was getting them installed on every floor. It would be a very expensive venture for Surrey to take on.”

Larsen said the matter is of concern to her, certainly at some of the inner-city schools.

“It’s a concern for students. It’s an expense,” she added. “And I shouldn’t even say inner-city, because there are lots of students in other areas where it’s an expense they can’t incur.”

Larsen said she wouldn’t be surprised if someone now tabled a motion to explore the idea, in light of New Westminster’s decision, but she noted the district is “winding up our budget so it’s something that would probably have to wait” for the next budget cycle.

According to United Way, one in seven Canadian girls have missed school because of their menstrual cycle, often because of stigma or the lack of access to pads and tampons.

READ ALSO: New Westminster school district to give students free tampons, pads

In New Westminster, the district expects the unanimous Feb. 26 decision to cost $10,000 to implement.

Douglas College professor Selina Tribe, who proposed the idea, has been advocating for free menstrual products to be available in all schools across the country.

Tribe said providing these products would ensure fair and equitable access to all genders for basic toiletries. It would remove stigma and cost barriers that sometimes prevent students from fully participating in school activities, she said, “and help all students feel their bodies are valued, dignified, and normal.”

The total cost for New Westminster is estimated to be roughly $9,700 for installing dispensary machines, with an annual cost of $7,000 for supply. The school district is looking to implement the free access by September.

-With files from Ashley Wadhwani



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

Cloverdale town hall adresses climate change and loss of biodiversity

Meeting co-hosted by Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag, Camp We Empower draws about 70 people

PHOTOS: Surrey designer uses toilet paper to make a dress for annual Toronto show

‘The dress is very experimental and avante garde,’ says Guildford-based Alex S. Yu

Police issue warning after four overdoses in North Delta

Police and emergency health services use naloxone to revive four overdose victims Thursday morning

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Surrey reacts to policing plan getting the green light

Former mayor, councillors and residents weigh in on the Public Safety Minister approving the transition

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

North Van music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read