AL Bill Requiring Schools to Provide Feminine Hygiene Products


Lily Hughes, Writer

A potential bill requiring schools, K-12, to provide feminine hygiene products in women’s restrooms with zero cost to students was presented to the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Education. Introduced by Representative Rolanda Hollis, the bill “would require local boards of education to provide feminine hygiene products in women’s restrooms at schools under the board’s jurisdiction.” Meaning that products such as pads and tampons would be placed within bathrooms free of charge for student use. Such an addition to the natural school day could mean the rescuing of a girl caught unprepared, but it could come at a remarkably high cost. 

There are roughly 888 girls attending Bob Jones High School right now.  This could be a significant expense. 

80% of the surveyed students felt that the school should provide these products. Sarah Roach shared, “I don’t think it would affect the budget greatly if they found workarounds like sponsors or other things. Not to mention it would be for a good cause. Sometimes people forget products or mess up the day their cycle is supposed to start so having a supply of feminine hygiene products would do the school good.” Others couldn’t settle on whether the cost would be worth the benefits. Abby Warren, a junior, admitted she couldn’t find a middle zone in the matter. “I’m not really sure,” Abby shared. “Like the school kind of pays for enough, you know? But then I also understand that it’s a little embarrassing for girls to have to carry around those things. There also might be some girls who don’t have the money to buy those kinds of things… I really don’t know.”

A secondary stance students were surveyed on questioning the provision of feminine hygiene products over other medical treatments; is it really fair to provide tampons but not pain killers, for example? Maggie Brown broke down the argument with a clear stance: “No. Feminine hygiene is just that: hygiene.” She continued, comparing tampons with “keeping soap, toilet paper, and running water in bathrooms.” Katie Tanner, a sophomore, shared the idea of a period being a hygiene-based issue. Tanner stated, “You can survive a headache without Tylenol, you cannot go through your period without hygiene products. There are plenty of girls who can’t afford pads or tampons, who need them. There are plenty of girls that are too embarrassed to go to the nurse, especially if they have a male teacher. As someone that has missed a ton of school due to my menstrual cycle and surrounding health issues, providing those products would be massively helpful.”

Some students were worried about people abusing access to these products. Bree Soto, a junior, offered a solution to the potential product provision abuse. Bree concluded that the bill “would do more bad than good since some parents are liable to tell their kids to depend on the school’s providence without actually making an effort to pay for these products themselves. To prevent this, the school could send out a form like the Free Lunch Program to verify that students actually need more assistance with obtaining hygiene products.”