Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools seeks consultation with students on provision of menstrual products in schools. (Black Press file)

Nanaimo Ladysmith school district deciding how best to provide menstrual products for students

Early cost estimates tag $75,000 for product dispensers; trustees seek student consultation

Nanaimo Ladysmith school district will consult with students before deciding on how best to proceed with a provincial directive to provide tampons and pads to students.

Last April, the B.C. Ministry of Education decided that school districts must provide students access to menstrual products by the end of December. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ business committee is recommending the board approve a menstrual product policy at an Oct. 23 meeting. In addition to voting on the recommendation at last Wednesday’s meeting, trustees also expressed a desire to meet and talk with students about the issue.

Trustee Stephanie Higginson said input from the students is important.

“I think we need to ensure that we have the right students,” Higginson said at the meeting. “I think our school staff is really great at helping make sure that we have the right students for this type of feedback … for me, it’s important that we ensure that the students that this policy is meant to support in their learning are heard and their voices are heard and I leave that to staff to determine the best way to do that.”

RELATED: B.C. schools must provide tampons, pads by year’s end

A staff report referenced 140 dispensers and 210 bins to be installed in female, accessible and gender-neutral washrooms, with $75,000 estimated for dispensers, $128,000 for labour and $83,000 for menstrual products.

Pete Sabo, district executive director of planning and operations, said numbers on the budget sheet are “high-level notional budget amounts” that will enable the district to start the project and source and purchase products.

“The final cost will be known when the project is complete. However, we believe that those numbers are more than adequate and that they’ll be refined further as the project goes on,” Sabo said at the meeting.

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