Original article written by Katherine Stokes, Waterford School Nurse and Wellness Coordinator
In the 2022 legislative session, House Bill 162 was passed unanimously by the Utah Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox. The bill requires all public and charter schools in Utah to provide access to free period products in every girls’ and all-gender bathroom.
At the time, Waterford School Nurse and Wellness Coordinator Katherine Stokes was thrilled to hear that the nonpartisan bill was being enacted to ensure access to students. She immediately jumped into action and read through the bill, only to find that it didn’t include private schools. This meant that, for Waterford to join, they would need to find their own funding.
Stokes wasn’t the only one excited about the new legislation, as students from the Class of 2022 and Waterford’s Dean of Students, Nancy Nebeker, also reached out to discuss how the school could be a part of the program. Stokes says that, while they have always offered period products in their nursing and front office, the additional step of having to leave the restroom to ask for a product was a reported barrier for students.
As a nurse, I feel having access to period products in the restrooms at school is both a health and education issue. It is also evidence of a school’s care and support of students. Our students deserve to not miss the invaluable class time Waterford teachers so carefully prepare for them.Katherine Stokes, BSN, RN, NCSN
Fast forward to today — Waterford has officially joined the Menstrual Movement! Thanks to a generous and kind donor, Aunt Flow dispensers have been installed in each girls’ and single-stall restroom on campus by Waterford’s building supervisor, Camilo Castillo and crew.
In Lower School, the dispensers are located in the girls’ restrooms and available to IV, and V students and will dispense pads only. These dispensers provide free period products when students need them and where they need them.
Waterford’s students in action, Auden S. ’24 and Olivia W. ‘23 organized the initial filling of the dispensers and helped support this important project.
Having complementary period products in the women’s bathroom at Waterford is important to me because it shows the women at this school that Waterford cares about their health and well-being. Going to such a rigorous school, the added stress of having to worry about getting your period or having enough products to last you the day is something that we should not have to deal with. Having the products allows us to have that stress taken off. It means a lot to have the school acknowledge this struggle and do something about it so willingly.Auden S. ‘24
I believe that having access to free period products is a right for women …without this access, women are subject to embarrassment over their own bodies, something that should never happen.Olivia W. ‘23
When asked what prompted their generous donation, Waterford’s thoughtful donor offered this, “It’s been incredible to see what The Policy Project has done this past year, outfitting each and every public and charter school in Utah with access to free period products for grades K-XII. Because Waterford is a private school, it was not included in this statewide initiative. I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to raise the bar at Waterford and set a standard for other private schools to follow by properly outfitting our restrooms with access to free period products. Having two girls of my own, I think it’s important to remove social stigmas and barriers around obtaining period products. In keeping with Waterford’s spirit of giving, our family is delighted to outfit all female bathrooms on campus with Aunt Flow machines which dispense free, organic and essential period products.”