Expanded menstrual education standards coming to DC public and charter schools

D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education announced Thursday new menstrual health education standards taking effect for the next school year.

The standards are categorized by grade, starting as early as third grade. To develop these standards, the OSSE said they consulted with experts and welcomed feedback to come up with age-appropriate learning.

State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant said this is part of an effort to create inclusive school spaces while providing comprehensive health education.

“This is in alignment with council legislation that will ensure that all of our learners across the District, and public and public charter schools, will have health standards that deepen their understanding of the life cycle, appropriate understandings about the menstrual cycle, menstrual hygiene, pain management, certain disorders and even menopause,” Grant said.

Upper elementary grades will focus on building a functional understanding of the menstruation cycle, physical and emotional changes experienced during the menstruation cycle, communication with trusted adults and peers and product accessibility.

Grades six through eight will focus on the menstrual cycle, personal decision-making and analyzing influences, or period stigma.

Grades nine through 12 will focus on menstrual health irregularities, independent management of personal period health, community health implications of period stigma and inequities with product access.

According to the OSSE, the standards align with the Expanding Student Access to Period Products Act of 2022, which outlines requirements and strategies to improve menstrual health education and student access to period products.

The OSSE said this implementation makes D.C. the first jurisdiction in the nation to establish specific, statewide standards.

“Part of making sure our students have what they need to be healthy and happy is making sure they have access to resources, products and accurate information about their health and development,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

“I’m grateful for the experts who worked to develop the Menstrual Health Education Standards, and I’m grateful for our educators who empower our students with the tools they need to thrive each and every day.”

As part of the rollout, the OSSE is hosting the first D.C. Menstrual Health Education Day on Tuesday to help educate staff on how to ensure students have access to free period products in schools.

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Cheyenne Corin

Cheyenne Corin is a part-time reporter for WTOP News. She has worked in the Washington, D.C. area since 2020. Before joining WTOP, she worked as a WDVM/DC News Now Montgomery County Bureau Reporter, TheJasmineBrand Entertainment Correspondent and PHL 17 Reporter.

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