Community partnership aims to teach middle schoolers period preparedness and keep them in the classroom

Dozens of HISD middle school students were given the opportunity to participate in a crash-course on menstruation literacy as part of Impact100 Houston’s “Girls Should Be in School…Period!” initiative.

Students from Attucks Middle School and Thomas Middle School could opt into the event which included an anonymous Q&A and a knowledge session teaching them how to prepare for that next phase of life.

Also in attendance were HISD’s Nutrition Services Department, volunteers from the Junior League of Houston, and special guests from Impact100 Houston—an organization dedicated to increasing period literacy and ending period poverty in Houston schools.

“I want to build trust so that [students] can ask questions of me, and also build a trust in the community so that they can get answers from outside resources,” said Thomas School Nurse Sabrina Jones, who spoke to students about the ins and outs of period hygiene. “It shows our students that somebody else cares about them and that they are not alone.”

Students who experience “period poverty” or a lack access to menstrual hygiene products can miss class time and struggle emotionally and socially in school. According to a State of the Period study, more than 84% of students suffer from period poverty, which has led to a movement advocating for free and accessible pads and tampons in restrooms and public spaces globally.

Nutrition Services’ Chef Brittany Jones explained what foods are best for the body while menstruating and gave out samples of iron-rich brownies made with spinach to both replenish vital lost nutrients and satisfy pernicious period cravings. School nurses and Junior League volunteers held a detailed forum and explained to the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders what they could expect from their periods and how to best care for their changing bodies.

All eligible students were given period preparedness kits, which included a period-tracking system, a wristlet to transport period products, a heating pad, a reusable menstrual pad, and notes of affirmation.

HISD is proud to partner with Impact100 Houston, JP Morgan Chase, and the Valero Benefit for Children to combat period poverty and period stigma. The district is committed to meeting the needs of the whole child, from providing basic needs and services to community resources, social and emotional support, and beyond.