Free tampons for girls — and more in new state laws affecting schools
While national attention was focused in 2017 on the first year of the Trump administration, state legislatures around the country were busy, passing more than 21,000 new laws, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Some of those affect public schools, as does actions taken by some state boards of education.
A few states passed laws requiring public schools to offer free tampons and other feminine hygiene products in bathrooms. There were newly mandated subjects: Virginia became the first state to set mandatory computer science standards, while California passed a law requiring schools to offer students in grades 7-12 education and training on human trafficking identification and prevention.
Some public schools must provide feminine hygiene products, including tampons, in at least half of the bathrooms on campus — and give them out free. The law covers schools with any combination of classes from grade 6 to grade 12, with at least 40 percent of the student population coming from low-income families.
In a move similar to the one in California, the Illinois legislature passed a new law requiring all schools to provide feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary napkins free in bathrooms of schools with grades 6 through 12. The law says in part:
Feminine hygiene products are a health care necessity and not an item that can be foregone or substituted easily.
(2) Access to feminine hygiene products is a serious and ongoing need in this State.
(3) When students do not have access to affordable feminine hygiene products, they may miss multiple days of school every month.
(4) When students have access to quality feminine hygiene products, they are able to continue with their daily lives with minimal interruption.
By Valerie Strauss - The Washington Post
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