Interact Club provides feminine hygiene products for students

Kris Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

Interact Club announced the beginning of their program — funded by Rotary Club — to provide free menstruation products in MHS West bathrooms on Thursday. Products will be available in the bathrooms in A-Hall, D-Hall and both restrooms close to the cafeteria. 

“It’s really not something we talk about at school, the importance of having these products, because menstruation is still seen as a taboo,” Interact Club president senior Eszter Chikan said. “Not having these products in bathrooms make it seem like they’re a luxury, and they’re not, they’re a necessity… even talking to friends that aren’t that socio-economically disadvantaged, sometimes they’ve had to miss school because of issues.”

According to the national education association, 84% of teen girls say they’ve missed school or know people who have because they haven’t had access to menstruation products, which impacts equal access to education by infringing on the likelihood girls, especially those living in poverty, can attend class. In the United States, five states — California, New York, New Hampshire, Illinois and Virginia — require schools to provide these products, but Kansas has not brought up a bill on the subject and is one of 30 states that continues to tax menstrual products. 

Previously, Free products were available in the nurses’ office at Manhattan High, but there was otherwise no access in the school building. The project to change started in 2019 after alumni Trinity Brockman suggested it, but due to problems in getting approval from the school board and COVID-19 creating other priorities it was not realized until this school year.


“Everything got pushed aside because of the COVID and with the creation of so many new developments and projects [at West] in particular, it got really

difficult,” Interact sponsor Mac Phrommany said. “I think this could have gotten approved a lot faster. And there are a lot of structural approval systems [within USD 383] that need to be taken care of in order to get any project going… but bureaucracy is expected when we are modifying a public institution.”

Right now, although the school has given approval to place free feminine products in the restrooms, it will not pay for them. However, administration is open to doing so in the future if this pilot project works well. 

“I don’t think [administration is] willing to take a bet on something that might not work,” Chikan said. “And the biggest concern of the school board is that students will just hoard the products, and it will just end up taking too much money. So what we’re doing is really an experiment, and hopefully once the school sees that it’s working, they will start funding us.”