As enacted last year and signed into law by Governor Sununu, each school district now bears the cost of supplying menstrual hygiene products at no cost in all gender neutral bathrooms and bathrooms designated for females located in public middle and high schools.
It seems that the “cost” of providing this basic right to our students is is jut too high for some members of the committee who want to gut the law and change it to allow school districts to make reasonable efforts to ensure menstrual hygiene products are available to students.
That’s not we what fought for. We cannot allow this gain to be rolled back!
NEA-NH President Megan Tuttle provided the following testimony in opposition to HB276
Last year a bill was passed and signed by Governor Sununu to make available free feminine hygiene products in all girl and gender neutral bathrooms in middle schools and high schools across NH.
This involved getting the products and putting up vending machines for girls to gain access to the products. The reason for this was not because it is something the girls want, but it is something the girls need. I think we need to be clear that without the original provisions in the law, all female students become second class citizens. It has been shown that girls are missing, on average, 40 days of school because they do not have access to tampons or pads. Think about that – missing school because you don’t have access to buy tampons or pads. It is not like the girls want to have their period every month, but they do. Pads and tampons are considered luxury items and cannot be purchased with the use of SNAP funds.
This bill is trying to take this back by saying that schools only have to use “reasonable effort to ensure menstrual hygiene products are available”. Why is this? It is being called an unfunded mandate.
Seeking reimbursement because a district has refused to honor its responsibility to provide for the basic needs of half their students is, at best, an insulting second place trophy. Female students miss class time and are being robbed of an equal education.
Is supplying toilet paper to all students and staff considered an unfunded mandate? Schools even provide the receptacles to put used products in. I know this sounds silly, but really, it is the same principle.
Districts pay for toilet paper. Districts provide meals. Districts pay for water. Districts pay for all basic, human essential needs – except this one.
Elected leaders for too long have ignored women’s issues, denied them equal access, and have cried that there just isn’t any money to pay for things. Translation: you are not a priority – not even close.
Other states have passed similar Scotland has free feminine hygiene products for their entire country.
We are in opposition to this bill – We don’t want girls missing valuable time in school because of an equity issue like this, and there is no reason to change the law already in place.