Debating providing free menstrual hygiene products for public schools
MARYLAND – March 1st marks the first day of women’s month and Maryland legislators recently voted on a bill that would provide free menstrual hygiene products in bathrooms and public schools.
House bill 205 would require that each county board of education provide each public school, with free menstrual hygiene products in middle and high school restrooms. “The goal with that is to ensure that there isn’t a burden on the children for having to experience life,” says a supporter of the bill, Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes.
Although the bill has received a lot of support, one of the major concerns with the bill is that it requires menstrual items in female and male bathrooms. Which some delegates say they are very concerned about. “That to me is just where the bill crosses the line, I can’t imagine the problems the schools would have from a maintenance perspective,” says Delegate Wayne Hartman.
Some delegates tell 47 ABC, they’re worried about items being in a bathroom with young children who may misuse them. Del. Hartman even suggests regulating them better in the male bathrooms so something like that wouldn’t happen. However, supporters believe that these items are essential and it’s not a choice. “This isn’t a option for young women to experience, this is a life experience and school includes the lives of the children, it’s a part of their lives,” says Del. Sample-Hughes.
They add, the reason they’re needed in both male and female restrooms are for trans students who need access to the products as well. “Why not make it accessible to them so they can be confident in who they are and can have the supplies that they need just to remain being a human being, a growing woman,” adds Del. Sample-Hughes.
Del. Sample-Hughes also tells says, with providing menstrual products for kids in school it could potentially prevent girls from missing school due to their time of the month, and alleviate some of the financial burdens from families.
House Bill 205 was cross-filed with Senate bill 427 and was referred to the senate education health and environmental affairs committee. The bill was rejected last year in the Senate, but supporters believe the adjustments made this year could potentially mean the passing of it.