FCPS introduces a new pilot program to assist female students

Maddy Quigley & Alyssa Lusk, Managing Editor & Copy Editor

Periods, a traditionally taboo subject, have become a recent topic of discussion in FCPS with the recent introduction of the menstrual hygiene pilot program. The program provides free feminine hygiene products in restrooms for female students attending the selected schools. Currently, the program assists 37 schools in FCPS, including Westfield High School, Fairfax High School, and Justice High School, where the project originated. The program was founded by the school’s Girl Up club, a group focused on the empowerment of women and standing up for women’s rights.
While FCPS does offer free sanitary products in their clinics, many female students are either unaware of this fact or find the location of the products too inconvenient.
“Free sanitary pads have always been available in the FCPS health clinics,” school nurse Dale Fletcher said. “At CHS, students have quick and easy access to pads and there is no requirement for a clinic pass; they can stop by and pick up a pad whenever needed.”
Even though free feminine products are available in the clinic, the pilot program hopes to improve accessibility. Instead of having to travel to the clinic in order to receive a pad or tampon, the products will be attainable in the bathrooms themselves.
“The pilot program will likely supplement meeting needs, and students will have more locations and access after normal school hours when the clinic is closed,” Fletcher said.
Though the program was started to support females in need of pads or tampons, there are some who think the free products could be taken advantage of.
“I think the program will be effective, but I also think it will be taken for granted,” senior Tanaya Addanki said. “I think people are going to steal the tampons for no good reason, but they should still be there to help out.”
FCPS School Board member Ryan McElveen tweeted his support for the program in September, including information on what it is and which schools it affects. As of now, the program has not reached Chantilly, but it could possibly do so in the coming years.
“I’m certainly up for learning more about it and talking with the administrative team about the potential upsides and potential problems, then make a collective decision about whether or not it’s something we want to pursue,” Principal Scott Poole said. “As a father of a daughter in particular, I want to make sure all of our female students have access to things that they need.”