The New Brunswick government will be spending upwards of $115,000 to provide menstrual products in schools. These products will be placed in female and gender neutral bathrooms as well as locker rooms. The goal of this initiative is to remove some of the stress and anxiety felt by students with menstrual cycles who would have otherwise supplied their own products. By removing this worry, students who need these products will be better equipped to focus on their learning. This decision also alleviates some of the financial burden experienced by lower-income students who require these products, providing easy, free, and discrete access.
The program, called Never be Caught Off Guard, was proposed by the New Brunswick Union and is meant to ensure that no child is caught off guard or distressed by a need for menstrual products. Never be Caught Off Guard was implemented by the provincial Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. A pilot version of this program was introduced in two high schools in the 2018-2019 school year in collaboration with the Horizon Health Network. Anglophone School District West students who participated in a survey about the program reported that they were better able to focus on their school work because of the reduced embarrassment and anxiety surrounding acquiring menstrual products. The New Brunswick Union wants the initiative to expand to include other provincial buildings, such as libraries.
Mt. A students are also involved in destigmatizing menstruation and making it easier for everyone in need to access menstrual products. Starting this semester, there are plans for a Mt. A Menstruators Society to begin meeting. The ultimate goal of the society is to advocate for “destigmatizing periods and addressing period poverty in the Sackville community.” They plan to take initiative and raise funds to provide access to menstrual products in bathrooms on campus.
In the face of these new programs and groups pushing for further accommodations, a new era of support is on the horizon.