Free menstrual products now located in all girls’ bathrooms

Bella Gil, Editor-In-Chief

Visitors to the girls’ bathrooms on campus will come across  a new device on the wall, a free menstrual product dispenser. In mid-April, these devices were installed, much to the surprise of La Serna’s female population.

California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia of the 58th Assembly District pushed for a law requiring public schools to offer free menstrual products to schools where at least 40 percent of the students fall below the poverty line (Caiola, Capradio). In October of 2017, this bill was signed and passed by Governor Jerry Brown.

La Serna High School Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction Kristin Kooiman said, “We [administration] were informed about a new law taking place in California, AB-10, which was passed last October. Since then, we’ve been trying to figure out how we were going to follow that new law to make sure we had the supplies all available for students.”

This law and new addition to campuses brings about not only change, but perhaps a feeling of relief to students.  If someone has been in a situation where they unexpectedly were in need of a pad or tampon, the dispensing device provides ease and security.

Although these dispensers offer Lancers easy accessiblilty to the products they need, Kooiman explained how free products have always been available for students, just in a different place. “We’ve always had supplies in the curriculum office and the PE locker room. However, I think these new dispensers offer a new sense of privacy because before you would have to ask, which I know could sometimes be a little bit awkward.”

All of the Whittier Union High School District schools will have  these dispensers installed in their girls’  bathrooms. As a district-wide effort, the WUSHD Board had informed each school about AB-10. According to Kooiman, “The assistant principals are working with the district to bring everything together and have these supplies available and figure out how they are going to fund it.”

When it comes to replenishing the products, Kooiman says it will be treated just the same as when the custodians replenish other bathroom necessities such as toilet paper and soap.

“I’m excited because it is something that should be available for all students…and I think this new addition should be better for all of us,” Kooiman said.

Along with these dispensers, new “hydro-stations” have also been installed around campus. These hydro-stations, donated by the PTSA, are located in the cafeteria and library and allow students to refill their reusable water bottles, which many take to school.