The Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) has launched a campaign to promote menstrual equity.

The school board and TLDSB’s G7 Student Senate have started a “Menstrual Equity Challenge” that will run until May 27, one day before Menstrual Hygiene Day. School board officials explain it’s similar to a food drive, but the aim is to collect hygiene products in their original, unopened packages. They will be donated to an organization chosen by the students.

The products can be dropped off at any TLDSB school.

It comes after the board, after being urged by the senate to do so, agreed to provide free menstrual products, which started in the spring of 2021.

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School board officials say that data shows that students have issues affording, accessing and talking about menstrual hygiene products which, in some cases, can cause students to miss part of or an entire day of school.

“It’s time we talk about menstrual health,” said Alexia Evans-Turnbull, TLDSB Student Trustee. “It’s time we end the stigma associated with a human function. So I challenge all TLDSB students to take part in the Menstrual Equity Challenge and to educate your peers about menstruation, all while donating to a good cause.”

“For the students who had brought this priority forward, the Ministry of Education’s announcement on providing greater access to free menstrual products in Ontario schools was music to their ears,” Wes Hahn, TLDSB’s Director of Education, says. “The 2021-2022 school year has seen the installation of dispensers for free menstrual products across TLDSB in female and all-gender washrooms at the secondary school level, and at least one washroom in elementary schools.”