Parent Challenges Law Requiring Tampons In Boys’ Bathroom As A Wasteful Use Of School Budgets

A school board parent is opposing Oregon's menstrual dignity act for spending up millions of the state's budget.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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menstrual dignity act

Public school districts have been going to what some consider extreme measures to be welcoming and inclusive to all students, no matter how they identify. Not everyone agrees with this modern notion, and there are many reasons for the rejection, including the price tag that can accompany these initiatives. Because of the hefty chunk of funds being allotted from public school budgets to Oregon’s new menstrual dignity act, one parent is speaking out and challenging the law that requires schools to place period products inside of the boys’ bathroom.

G2T covered the breaking story a few months ago, with an exclusive memo from Portland Public Schools to parents notifying them that the district was rolling out a series of plans to place tampons and other period products inside boys’ restrooms, even at the elementary school level. It was all part of a law passed by the state known as the menstrual dignity act in 2021. Meant to be inclusive for transitioning students who might be using a new bathroom facility, Fox News now reports that this act costs the state millions of dollars to roll out, and a parent is calling it ludicrous and wasteful. 

The menstrual dignity act was phased into school over a period of time, starting with just one or two bathrooms requiring the period products. But by 2023, each and every school bathroom will be required to make available at no cost to students. Eagle Point School District parent and board member, Cherylene Stritenberg is petitioning the Oregon Department of Education to repeal the act, citing its massive cost.  

To enact the menstrual dignity act throughout schools in the state, $5.6 million of the state’s $9.3 billion public education budget will be used. Stritenberg isn’t necessarily opposed to making free period products available to students, but more specifically to the costs of having to place them inside the boys’ bathroom. Specifically, she calls it a misuse of funds. 

In Portland Schools, district officials already purchased more than 500 dispenser units for placing the period products in various bathrooms in schools in accordance with rulings for the menstrual dignity act. On average these types of machines cost between $300 and $415 per machine. That isn’t even including the costs of the tampons and pads themselves. 

The public school system in America has been falling behind year after year, as trust in the system wanes. What’s more, families are watching taxpayer dollars fund endeavors like Oregon’s menstrual dignity act, simultaneously while academics continue to fail. This is just one of the many reasons why more and more parents are pulling their children from public schools in favor of private institutions or even homeschooling, with a focus on core academics. 

menstrual dignity act

Even as many parents like Stritenberg push back on the menstrual dignity act, others see it as a needed progressive movement inside schools. More children are identifying as transgender than ever before. Likewise, mental health issues are on the rise, especially for LGBTQ+ identifying students. Some see this initiative as an essential way for schools to support these students.