EDUCATION

Free period product dispensers placed at Hillcrest Junior High

May 25, 2022, 3:45 PM
Free period products in Utah public and carter schools....
Gail Miller, front center, shakes hands with Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, front left, after she and Gov. Spencer Cox ceremonially signed HB162 at Hillcrest Junior High in Murray on Thursday, April 14, 2022. HB162 requires Utah public schools to stock free period products in all female or unisex restrooms in elementary, middle and high schools. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Students, educators, and advocates gathered at Hillcrest Junior High on Wednesday to celebrate the rollout of Utah’s free period product dispensers in schools.

The pilot program is a result of  H.B. 162, which required local school boards and charter school governing boards to offer free period products in certain restrooms in K-through-12 public and charter classrooms in Utah. 

The bill passed the state legislature unanimously.

The period product dispensers are starting as a pilot program in the Murray School District. Murray School District Superintendent Jennifer Covington said when kids don’t have access to period products, they might stay home or not participate as much.

“Not all of our students come from homes or situations where buying period products is an option,” Covington said. “And so they have to stay home.

“This impacts what we do every day with these students. We want them here in our school. We want to be able to remove barriers. This is how we’re doing it.’

A 9th grader at Hillcrest said she hopes that having these period dispensers in schools will help destigmatize periods.

“Providing an environment that it’s normal to have a period,” she said, “and if accidents do happen, it’s okay.”

Multiple students at Hillcrest Junior High said they had missed class before or had problems at school because they were on their period.

Two foundations are paying for the period product dispensers. And the state has allocated one-time funds for the actual products.

However, once the funds have run out, the schools and districts will have to buy the period products themselves at a rate that is discounted by the state.

Waverly Golden contributed to this report.

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Free period product dispensers placed at Hillcrest Junior High