AUSTIN (KXAN) — Beginning this school year, Austin ISD will offer free tampons and pads to help make menstrual products more accessible to students.
The initiative came, in part, after seeing districts across the country offer similar menstrual resources to students, according to an AISD news release. The district began installing pad and tampon dispensers in middle and high school restrooms in July.
Products will also be made available to elementary students, but there will not be dispensers installed in elementary campuses, officials said.
The announcement follows recent city initiatives to help enhance public access to period products. In May, Austin City Council voted to prioritize funding in the fiscal year 2022-23 budget for free access to menstrual products in city-owned facilities. These sites will include Austin Public Library buildings, city-owned community recreation centers and summer camps, city-owned showers and bathrooms along with Austin Public Health facilities.
In its announcement, AISD officials cited a 2021 State of the Period report that found 23% of students struggle to afford menstrual products, based on a survey of 1,000 students ages 13 to 19.
Christine Steenport, interim assistant superintendent of AISD operations, said in the release dispenser installation will cost approximately $85,000, with the cost of supplies dependent on student use.