Students Call for Female Hygiene Dispensers in EHS Restrooms

Simone Vaillancourt, page editor

Several students at Edina High School are petitioning the administration for feminine hygiene product dispensers in girls’ restrooms. Many students were surprised to learn of the absence of such dispensers; though the district middle schools and even some elementary schools have them, there are no dispensers at the high school.

Senior Lily Goldaris has been collaborating with other female students to advocate for the dispensers. Senior Brianna Lee approached Goldaris for help voicing her opinion on the issue, and they have since created online and hard-copy petitions asking that students support their cause. The girls hope to use the petitions as a way to start a conversation with administration regarding the issue.

“The petition for us was a supplement to the proposal we wanted to bring to administration,” Goldaris said. “We noticed that there was such a need for these machines to be installed just due to accessibility.” The girls wanted to give the administration “paper and pen proof” that there was a need and a cause which had garnered student backing.

Several of the students heading up the effort are leaders of GirlUp Edina and the EHS Young Liberals Club. After they proposed the petitions to their clubs, Goldaris said that the issue received immediate support. “A lot of people were ready to sign right away or just asking how else they could help,” she said. Additionally, several students posted information about the petition on their social media. According to Goldaris, the initiative garnered a positive response from both male and female students, and she said that some male students were shocked that the machines were not already installed.

Those involved in coordinating the petition–including Goldaris and Lee–met with Principal Andy Beaton and the school nurse to discuss the problem. The proposed short-term solution was to temporarily stock higher-quality feminine hygiene products in the nurse’s office. However, Goldaris believes that this plan only partly resolves the issue. “It’s not comfortable for younger girls to have approach a staff member, such as the nurse, to ask for tampons or pads. It’s also not convenient to have to run across the school, which is a disadvantage for girls as they are losing valuable class time when trying to obtain these products,” Goldaris said. “We’re also currently trying to find the vendors [who would stock the machines].”

So far, the petition has been signed by 262 students and staff members. Goldaris hopes that it will not only help to get the machines installed, but will empower a broader conversation on the topic. “People have spoken more openly about women’s menstruation in a school setting,” Goldaris said. “While we are the ones actually figuring it out with the administration, we’ve been able to get people excited about it and others willing to hopefully voice their opinions to the administration that this is something that they would like implemented.”

The petition coordinators hope that the machines will be installed in both the girls’ and gender neutral bathrooms throughout the school by the end of the academic year. So far, Goldaris feels that she and her peers are taking the right steps towards resolving the problem. “We want to increase accessibility and increase quality. We want to open a conversation on [this issue] and to start to actually take the steps to get those machines implemented.”