Gonzaga Prep students start program to provide free tampons and pads at school

SPOKANE, Wash. – For some girls, the price of feminine products can be a burden every single month. In Olympia, lawmakers are considering a new law that would require public schools to provide sanitary napkins and tampons for free. One local high school is already doing that, because of a program started by students.

It’s a topic most high schoolers would prefer not to talk about – feminine hygiene. But if you want change, if you want to see action, someone has to speak up. Luckily, at Gonzaga Prep, two girls did.

“As you can see, there is a little display tampons and pads and pantyliners,” said Callah Preti, a junior at Gonzaga Prep.

Women’s bathrooms at Gonzaga Prep are now stocked with these feminine supplies, and students are loving it.

“We hear, like, even when we are in the bathrooms, that the students really enjoy having those there and they feel more comfortable at school. They have a backup plan, like a plan B, if they’re in need,” said MaryKate McHenry, a senior at Gonzaga Prep.

If they run out, some classrooms are stocked as well.

“We have a list of teachers you can go to and their locations,” McHenry said.

These Gonzaga Prep students said they started the program to take stress off girls at school.

“Even me, I’ve been in stressful situations. You’re like, ‘Oh no.’ You’re just thinking in class like, ‘Okay, I need to figure out how to get to the bathroom. Or I need to figure out what to do,'” Preti said.

That moment of panic for a teenage girl can not only be uncomfortable, but distracting.

“I see the girls that come and they are like, ‘Can I… can I get a pad? It’s a difficult conversation to have sometimes,” said Katie John, a PE teacher at Gonzaga Prep.

Now, with boxes full of feminine products around school, girls don’t have to feel that way again.

“People are taking advantage of it. Which makes us really happy,” McHenry said.

Both students are graduating within the next two years. But they said they feel confident in the program they started and believe in its longevity long after they leave Gonzaga Prep. For the future, they’re ordering dispensers to better organize all the products in the bathroom for students to take advantage of, free of any quarters.