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The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

No more period panic! Minnesota Schools roll out free menstrual products

Photo by Lainey Zinda
Menstrual product dispensers in women’s bathrooms allow for students to have access to free products. All women’s bathrooms at school have a dispenser with pads and tampons.

A new law recently passed in January in Minnesota requires all schools grades 4-12 to provide free menstrual products in women’s bathrooms. Students now have access to tampons and pads at any point in the day free of charge.

While this is a big deal for Minnesota, it is not the only state that requires this. Twenty-six other states have already implemented this in schools, with New York being the first in 2018. New York laws state that all women’s bathrooms in grades 6-12 must have menstrual products at school for students.

“Well, not every woman can afford it,” licensed school nurse Nicole Myers said. Not only is a period expensive, but it is also unexpected. Tracking your period on an app can help prepare you, but a period can be at any point. “You don’t know always when you’re gonna get your period or need a product,” Myers added.

Many students not just in Minnesota struggle to afford menstrual products even after “Pink Tax.” In 2023, Forbes magazine stated, “One in five teenagers have struggled to afford period products or haven’t been able to buy them at all.”  This has been an ongoing problem and not just in Minnesota, but across the world.

It has been a universally great thing in my opinion, and for other people around me”

— Nyanpal Kuornyuot

Legislation sponsored a bill to get all schools on board with this change, schools have now added menstrual products as part of their yearly education spending package. Minnesota schools will now receive funding from the state to provide quality products for women during their menstrual cycle.

To provide menstrual products in school it costs roughly $5-7 for each menstruating student per year. Minnesota schools are lucky enough to be fully funded to provide products, but other states are not as fortunate. Some states are funded fully, partially, or self-funded.

Minnesota’s new law was brought to light by students. A group of teens from South St.Paul partnered with a nonprofit organization to allow dispensers in school bathrooms for period products in their school.

Students at school have had positive feedback since adding feminine product in bathrooms, “the accessibility aspect is so handy,” junior Nyanpal Kuornyuot explained, an active member of the “Young Feminists Club.” 

“It has been a universally great thing in my opinion, and for other people around me,” Kuornyuot added.

More and more states have begun to add menstrual products in school, with more than 35 districts and schools already providing free period products across Colorado as of March 1. It is hoped that eventually all schools will provide menstrual products across the U.S.

The lack of menstrual products in school has led to a large amount of “period-related absences,” which can detrimentally affect a student’s attendance and academic performance over time.

“It’s always a bit of a shock, and I can’t focus on school when I get it,” junior Hollie Koller explained.

While a woman’s menstrual cycle is out of her control, especially at school, by putting women’s needs into account school administrators are showing their concern. Students are now able to go to school without worrying if they have period products with them.

“Period poverty” is a large problem in this day and age, with inflation and more demand for products teens may not be prepared. With the help of schools, students can learn safely without fear of being unprepared for their period.

“It’s nice to know that they are there when I need them, and they are free,” Koller added.

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About the Contributor
Lainey Zinda
Lainey Zinda, Photography Editor
Hi my name is Lainey Zinda, I am a junior photographer for the Pony express. I am apart of the Stillwater Chevals Dance Team and I currently am in my Fall season. I enjoy writing and reading and playing with my dog Tuna. I am most looking forward to becoming closer with my classmates and working together to make an awesome paper! I cant wait to see everyones roles come together.   

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