Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

State lawmakers plan to require schools to provide students free sanitary products

Delaware Public Media

Some state lawmakers propose making free sanitary products available at public schools.

House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and State Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman say they will introduce legislation in January requiring middle and high schools and charter schools to provide free feminine hygiene products.

Longhurst said the items would be located in bathrooms so students would not have to go to the nurse or miss class. She cites a 2017 study that found nearly one in five girls leave school early or miss school because of a lack of sanitary products.

“I mean, a young girl just should be able to have the privacy of going into the bathroom and getting a tampon or a pad and feeling comfortable and having the dignity of taking care of it herself,” she said.

Longhurst said she doesn’t want access to feminine hygiene products be a barrier to low-income students and to remove the stigma around periods.

“Every girl’s going to get their period and there’s nothing that we should be ashamed of," she said. "And it should be easy access for all these feminine hygiene products and they should be free.”

A St. Louis study of low-income women released earlier this year reported nearly two-thirds of study participants couldn’t afford feminine hygiene products some time during the past year. And 21 percent of them experienced that monthly.

Other states, such as New Hampshire and Illinois, also require schools provide the products free to students.

Longhurst said it’s too early to know how much it might cost the state to implement the legislation.

State lawmakers approved a bill last year requiring the Delaware Department of Correction give inmates free feminine hygiene products.