Leader Lauren Book (D-Davie) and Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton) have again filed legislation that would ensure girls in Florida’s public schools have access to menstrual products at no cost. SB334 and HB389, entitled “Learning with Dignity,” would require Florida’s middle schools and high schools to provide menstrual hygiene products in nurses offices and at least 25% of a school’s restrooms.
“One in five girls have either left school early or missed school entirely because they did not have access to menstrual products,” says Leader Book. “Girls pay a price when these products aren’t free – and providing them will go a long way toward ensuring equal education opportunities for all.”
Women typically spend around $150 – $300 annually on menstrual products, which can cause a financial strain for low-income students and their families. Twenty three percent of Florida’s children are living below the poverty level, and 66 percent of public-school children qualify for free or reduced- price school lunch.
“Florida’s students should not miss class because of a basic biological function. We provide necessary toilet paper and paper towels to all students, there is no reason why we shouldn’t provide menstrual hygiene products as well,” stated Representative Skidmore.
In 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act into law, mandating menstrual products be provided at no cost to Florida’s female inmates. This proposed legislation extends the same dignity to Florida’s students.
“A period should end a sentence, it shouldn’t end an education,” says Ashley Eubanks of the Beauty Initiative, a South Florida-based nonprofit that has provided more than a million hygiene products to women and girls in need. “Basic hygiene should never be considered a luxury in the United States of America.”
Originally published at https://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/4393