Girls in Ohio's schools will soon be getting free menstrual products thanks to new state budget
Ohio's middle and high schools will soon have menstrual period supplies available, free of charge. A bipartisan group of Ohio lawmakers said this will make a positive difference for many young girls who sometimes miss school during their periods.
As part of the new two-year Republican-created state budget, $5 million is set aside for period supplies for 6th-12th grade students. Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) said girls should not have to deal with a lack of period supplies.
"It really gets in the way of them being able to rise to their fullest potential," she said. "When students lack access to period products, they face barriers and may avoid going out in public while wearing stained clothing in public without the necessary sanitary products."
Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Dublin) said this issue is near and dear to her.
"I've seen firsthand as a former attendance secretary that there are students that do not come to school or have to leave school and miss instructional time," Kunze said. "I believe the latest number was in March of 2022 that I saw that 1 in 5 girls across America were missing either a portion or all day of school based on not having access."
Kunze said price, affordability and income barriers are reasons why girls cannot always get the basic supplies they need during their periods.
Antonio noted how toilet paper and paper towels have been provided free of charge for students. She said feminine supplies are no different. Menstruation is a natural biological occurrence, she said, and she's glad it will be treated as such.
"Just like toilet paper, we need to have free and accessible access," Antonio said.
More than 20 other states also offer free feminine hygiene products in their schools. Ohio's schools will begin installing product dispensers soon.