Update on PPS Implementation of Menstrual Dignity Act4/19/2022
Dear PPS Community,
We want to offer an update on Portland Public Schools’ implementation of the Oregon Menstrual Dignity Act, signed into law in 2021 by Gov. Kate Brown. The law requires public schools to offer free menstrual products to all students. PPS is taking a phased approach to the law. During the 2021-22 year, the district placed free, accessible menstrual products in female and all-gender restrooms located in comprehensive high schools.
Starting next year (2022-23), products will be available in all restrooms (male, female, and all-gender) in every PPS building where education occurs. To ensure timely compliance, PPS ordered 500 dispensers. Dispensers have been installed in all elementary and middle school girls’ restrooms, and more will be installed in all remaining bathrooms, including boys’ restrooms, next year. Instructions for how to use tampons and pads will be posted in all bathrooms.
Beyond providing products, this program reminds us that all PPS schools must provide education on growth, development, and puberty that includes menstrual health (OAR 581-22-2050). Additionally, the Health and Adapted/Physical Education team is providing all K-12 schools with basic lessons around the four pillars of Menstrual Dignity including Privacy, Inclusivity, Access, and Education. This education, like all PPS growth and development lessons, is always positive, taught without shame, and is accessible to students of all genders and all abilities.
We understand that this may be new for some students in some grades. This is why we felt it was especially important that we share the details of this program with you.
We encourage parents to have conversations with their students at home about menstruation, menstrual products, sexuality, and health. This program will be implemented best if we work in partnership to reduce shame and stigma around menstruation and help all students address basic physical needs in order to remove barriers to their overall education. Here are some resources to start the conversation:
- Menstruation: What to Expect, Amaze.org Video on menstruation as part of puberty
- Period Hygiene: Tampons, Pads and Menstrual Cups, Amaze.org Video on menstrual products
- Growing Up OK, Calgary Sexual Health Centre, A brochure on puberty
- You got your First Period… Now What?, PERIOD, A overview flyer on menstruation and products
- Tampon Myths, Playtex, A web page with information on misconceptions
- Ep 18 - Let's talk about periods - Level One, Six Minute Sex Ed, Podcast Episode for caregivers and kids on menstruation basics