West Potomac is one out of the group of 37 elementary, middle, and high schools that have been funded by the school board to start a new free menstrual products pilot program this year. Ryan McElveen, one of the School Board members, is the co-sponsor of this program to take an initiative to relieve the financial and other burdens of menstrual health of students.
“The program first started at Justice High School last year as a trial run, and was successful enough to spread to more schools in the county, “ he said.
The budget for this program is $200,000 to foster the pilot program. “The budget came from the set aside money in the general budget from Fairfax County Public Schools, however, the School Board is also pursuing funding from the state and federal government,” McElveen said.
There are two ways that the county is implementing program which will provide sanitary pads in the restrooms. One model is to place bins in the girls’ bathrooms filled with pads, and the other model is placing Evogen pad dispensers in the target bathrooms, he said.
The pilot program will start soon as McElveen stated, “When it comes to menstrual health, the sooner the better. The Student Services department is assembling the products and price quotes, so they will start appearing in schools in the next few months.”
Junior Kylie Rapp, president of Girl Up, an organization to support programs to give girls in developing countries equal opportunities, is excited about this new change. “Menstrual equity is extremely important to girls’ education and for ensuring quality and equal education for those who can’t afford menstrual products. This is especially important to West Po because of the range of financial diversity we have,” Rapp said.
As of October 21, Jill John, West Po’s finance technician, had not yet been notified about any funding for this program at West Po, and it remains unclear as to the logistics of how West Po will implement the program.