Baton Rouge Parents Magazine

Meeting Her Needs: How Redesign Schools Louisiana Combats Period Poverty

Redesign Schools Louisiana (RSL) is a non-profit organization serving Louisiana-area schools and families. They aim to provide students with “equitable, high-quality public education” and prepare them for high school, college, and life. RSL’s specialized curriculum, dedicated staff, and emphasis on parental involvement all contribute to their mission to excel. However, RSL’s excellence can also be traced to their commitment to closing opportunity gaps. To RSL, equitable education is more than just a quality curriculum; it is about providing holistic opportunities that help students stay successful in school despite external factors. This is especially true for RSL’s young female students who do not have menstrual product security.

The lack of access to menstrual products is referred to as period poverty or menstrual inequity. Globally, the period of poverty crisis means 1 in 10 girls miss school because of their menstrual cycles. In the US, period poverty affects nearly 1 in 4 students, most of whom are low-income people of color. Currently, 25 states require access to free period products in schools, but Louisiana is not among these states. Understanding how this can affect a young girl’s academic success, RSL has partnered with local non-profit Power Pump Girls Inc. (PPG) to provide period care in their schools. PPG launched in 2017 with a mission to end period poverty; co-founder Raina Vallot states, “We’re getting rid of the taboo of discussing menstruation in school and providing students with the opportunity to receive the menstrual care they deserve.” Despite the state’s government support, RSL and PPG prove they value female academic success by eliminating the #1 reason girls miss school.

RSL not only works to reduce menstrual inequity but also combats food and housing insecurity. It partners with the Office of Community Development and Louisiana Housing Corporation to aid families facing challenges such as poor credit or limited income. At its Zion City campus, RSL partners with the Southern University AgCenter, which provides students with meals over the weekend. “There is a distinct connection between school and home,” explains Izzard. With this mantra at the forefront of their efforts, RSL will continue to raise the standard with their unique solutions that truly meet the needs of their students.

To learn more about Redesign Schools Louisiana and how it’s closing opportunity gaps, visit their website.