Feminine hygiene products should be free in all public and private school restrooms, including here at NDB


Feminine products cost 25 cents in NDB restrooms.

The Menstrual Equity for All Act, signed on October 8, 2021, requires all California public schools to supply free menstrual products starting in the 2022-2023 school year. This new legislation greatly improves the level of equity and convenience for girls at public schools. As an all-girls school, NDB should implement the same level of access.

NDB students have limited options when it comes to accessing menstrual products on campus. The main resource provided is a large dispenser located in both the upstairs and downstairs restrooms, which holds tampons and “napkins.” To purchase either of these items, students must pay 25 cents. While this is a low price, it is a price that should not have to be paid at all. Menstrual products are undeniable necessities and payment should not be required in order to get them.

The dispensers are simply not serving their purpose as an accessible source of menstrual products for NDB students. For many students, 25 cents can be a difficult price, due to either a simple lack of on-hand quarters or larger financial hardships. Rather than paying the 25 cents, most students resort to asking their friends for the products they need. If students are getting the necessary materials from their friends rather than the restroom, why is the dispenser even there? Students clearly do not want to or are unable to purchase the period products supplied by the dispenser, so what good is it doing?

Luckily, we do have one free option on campus, which is Student Services Coordinator Barbara Tauskey’s office. Tauskey thoughtfully provides all of the necessary supplies for students and administers them with a kind smile and comforting impression. However, many students, especially underclassmen, are not aware that they can go to Tauskey for this need. Furthermore, some students may not feel comfortable addressing their period with a staff member, and it is understandable if they want to maintain a certain level of privacy. Providing these products for free in the restrooms is the best way to ensure personal privacy and easy accessibility in emergency situations.

When a student suddenly realizes that they have started their period, they are filled with a certain level of panic and anxiety and they frantically rush to take care of it. They do not need to add to this panic by realizing that they are not prepared with the necessary materials and can not get any conveniently, all because they do not have a quarter. This anxiety is fixable. Replacing the dispensers that are currently in the restrooms with a free option is an easy way to help the girls at NDB feel calm, composed, and prepared when they get their period.

As an all-girls school, NDB has the opportunity to cater to the unique needs of a female student body. Through lesson plans, uniforms, and campus activities, NDB considers femininity and the experiences that come with it. Menstruation is an issue that should not be treated any differently, as it is a specific case in which the privileges of attending an all-girls school can be highlighted.

There is no preventing the distracting monthly burden that is menstruation, but the school can make it easier to handle through free, accessible menstrual products.