Letter to the Editor – Free Period Products at PUSD
As a student in the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD), I am writing to express my concern regarding the lack of free period products in our school restrooms, which is otherwise mandated by California’s Menstrual Equity Act of 2021.
Access to period products in schools is not just a matter of convenience but also a matter of educational opportunity. When students don’t have the products they need, they miss valuable class time. Menstruation impacts roughly half of our student population, and it should never prevent someone from fully participating in their education.
California AB-367, otherwise known as the Menstrual Equity Act, was designed to address this issue and ensure that middle and high school students have convenient access to free period products in all women’s restrooms and gender-neutral restrooms, and in at least one men’s restroom on campus. Though this legislation went into effect beginning the 2022-2023 school year, our district has not fully implemented these policies at Piedmont High, Millennium High, and Piedmont Middle School.
Students have taken notice. In February, I administered a school-wide survey about period products that received over a hundred responses within two days. Regarding a prompt that asked, “On a scale of 1-5 from ‘Not accessible’ to ‘Very accessible,’ how accessible do you think period products are on your school campus?” over 50% of the respondents slanted towards ‘Not accessible.” The need for period products in school is resoundingly clear.
In April, I met with Superintendent Evans and Chief Financial Officer Alahydoian, who explained that they have plans to comply with the provisions of AB-367 in the budget meeting this coming August. I commend PUSD for taking these steps to properly comply with state law, and I urge my classmates to ensure that they follow through on these plans.
Next year, students should enter our middle and high school campuses expecting all restrooms to be adequately stocked with free period products. To the district: let us work together to create a community that champions every student’s right to menstrual equity.