Initiative modeled after New York City; Addresses Michelle Obama’s goal of educational equity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cambridge, Mass. – (December 7, 2016) – The Cambridge School Committee has voted to approve a pilot program to ensure all female public school students have free access to feminine sanitary products – and proper disposal containers. The proposal, from committee member Manikka Bowman, addresses what First Lady Michelle Obama calls “an issue of educational equity,” and seeks to follow the lead of the New York City Council, which voted to provide feminine hygiene products for all public schools, prisons and homeless shelters.
“It is our job to advocate for the basic health needs of girls in our schools,” said Bowman, who chairs the School Committee’s subcommittee on Buildings and Grounds. “After I read about Mrs. Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, and New York City’s groundbreaking step, I wanted this committee to address the issue for our female students.”
Currently, most schools provide access to feminine hygiene products, but girls have to visit the nurse’s office or an administrator’s office, ask for the products and then return to a restroom. The pilot – to be held at Cambridge Ridge and Latin– will inform the committee how a plan to expand access to sanitary hygiene products and proper disposal containers at elementary schools and upper schools could roll out beginning in the 2017-18 school year.
Bowman believes this initiative will send the right message to young women in Cambridge and could lead to broader expansion across the Commonwealth.
“This is even more important now after having lived through a national election that placed young girls in a position where they questioned their value in the context of our public institutions.”
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