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Breaking down barriers . . . Period products supply, received by Mackenzie College last Friday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Helen Holt

A South Canterbury school principal says free period products will break down barriers for pupils.

The Government initiative offers free period products to school pupils from this month.

All New Zealand’s 2453 state and state-integrated schools are eligible for the programme, and 1680 schools have opted in so far.

In Canterbury, 199 schools have opted in, and 126 schools have made orders for the products.

Mackenzie College received its supply on Friday last week.

Other schools, including Roncalli College and Timaru Girls’ High School, are due to receive the products before the end of term two.

Girls’ High principal Deb Hales said it was a great initiative.

“It’s fantastic to have this support from the Government.

“The products supply will help to break down barriers for our students.”

Girls’ High was waiting for the products to be delivered, from which pupils could take the products as they needed them, Ms Hales said

South Canterbury Principals’ Association president and Grantlea Downs School principal Steve Fennessy said the free period products initiative was an important programme for schools to get involved in.

“I don’t know how many primary schools have opted in, but I strongly encourage them to.”

He said Grantlea Downs was still considering ways to distribute the products.

“We’re still throwing around ideas on how to make them accessible and not overwhelm them [the pupils].

“We’ll probably start by having them distributed at the office or through a teacher that the children feel comfortable going to.”

In New Zealand schools, 956 orders have been received and 693 processed, which equates to about 78,000 packets of pads and tampons.