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More schools to access Dignity Vending Machines

Posted: 12pm 09 Jun 2022

Schools across the Moreton Bay Region have welcomed news Dignity Vending Machines that provideaccess to free sanitary products will be rolled out across all state schools in Queensland.

The machines provide free period products to students, with two local high schools – Bribie Island State High School and Deception Bay State High School – involved in a trial of the program already.

Bribie Island State High School Principal Sharon Cordiner says the machine gives students access to an important resource in a private, dignified way.

“The students are very excited – they think it’s going to be a great addition to the school,” Ms Cordiner says.

“A lot of our teachers advocated for this on behalf of our students, because we know how important it will be for our school community. It will help reduce the burden of life challenges some students face and assist in breaking down barriers in terms of equity.”

Supporting students

Bray Park State High School Principal Peter Turner says a Dignity Vending Machine will be a great addition to the school.

“It certainly really helps our girls and supports them and saves them the embarrassment of having to walk down to the office – they can access it in the privacy of the bathroom,” Mr Turner says.

“It’s great to be able to support students who come from backgrounds of financial hardship with the vending machines..

“Our staff have a big focus on wellbeing and they really appreciate anything that gives students access to things to do with their health and wellbeing.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced this week all state schools in Queensland will be given the opportunity to receive a Dignity Vending Machine, thanks to a $13.3million investment in the upcoming State Budget.

She says the announcement builds on the existing partnership with Queensland-based charity Share the Dignity.

Breaking down barriers

Ms Palaszczuk says access to essential period products should never be a barrier to learning.

“Access to period products and misplaced stigma around periods should never be issues students face at school.

“We want all students to be confident to attend school every day.

“We know providing access to free period products can make a real difference, especially for students whose families are doing it tough, have unstable accommodation or are fleeing domestic and family violence.”

Making a difference

Education Minister Grace Grace says more than 200 schools applied to be part of the 120-machine trial, with 62 machines already installed.

“I have visited some of the schools that have received their vending machine, and in each case the whole school community is absolutely delighted, and female students are lining up to tell me what a difference it makes.”

Ms Grace says the Department of Education will cover the ongoing costs of maintenance and stocking.

Share the Dignity founder and managing director Rochelle Courtenay says expanding the program will make a real difference to students’ lives across the state.

“It is not just about the access to period products, it is also about the conversation it starts and the free access to our Period Talk education program, which will help reduce the shame and stigma around periods,” Ms Courtenay says.

Read more local news here.

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