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States That Require Period Products for Free in Schools

More than half the states across the country have legislation requiring K-12 schools to provide free period products—such as pads and tampons—for students or offer funding for schools to purchase period products. Researchers say having access to pads and tampons in school is essential to keep low-income students in class when they get their periods.

Twenty-one states require that K-12 schools have pads and tampons available for students, according to data from the Alliance for Period Supplies, a National Diaper Bank Network program that does period advocacy work and distributes products and funding to support access to period products. Laws vary for what grades and schools should stock products, sometimes extending to include elementary schools.

Only about half of the states provide funding to do it, however. That’s an important piece to the puzzle, said Lacey Gero, director of government relations for the Alliance for Period Supplies.

“What we’ve seen over the years is that those states that have provided funding in the budget along with a mandated requirement, they’re having more successful implementations, and students are seeing products more consistently in schools,” she said.

Pennsylvania could be next to legislate access. Earlier this month, the state House passed legislation that would create a $3 million grant fund for low-income districts to purchase period products. It still needs approval from the Senate. Seven other states offer funding to buy supplies.

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