Providing menstrual products in schools proposed

Nebraska school districts would be required to provide menstrual products and dispensers in all middle and high school girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms under a proposal considered Feb. 12 by the Education Committee.

Sen. Danielle Conrad
Sen. Danielle Conrad

LB1050, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Danielle Conrad, would take effect at the start of the 2025-26 academic year. The state Department of Education would distribute the products to school districts and create a formula to determine the amount of menstrual products needed in each public school building.

In recent years, the Legislature has made progress regarding menstrual equity, Conrad said, including removing the state sales tax on menstrual hygiene products and ensuring their availability for incarcerated women and girls. In spite of those gains, she said, she spoke with many families at a volunteer event who said they struggle to provide menstrual hygiene products for their children, which can affect their ability to participate in school.

“I think this measure is really important to bring forward — to raise awareness, to reduce stigma and to increase equity,” Conrad said.

Cassidy Bell, a Lincoln East High School senior who worked with Conrad to introduce LB1050, testified in support of the bill. She said before becoming a menstrual equity advocate, she was taught that discussing menstruation was indecent, inappropriate and embarrassing. Not having those conversations, however, will not help meet women’s needs, she said.

“Once female students hit puberty, we’re given this insurmountable task of being our own nurses and our own janitors,” Bell said. “And because we don’t talk about it, we girls never say to each other, ‘Maybe it doesn’t have to be like this.'”

Also testifying in support of the bill was Mindy Diller, a middle school teacher who spoke on behalf of the Nebraska State Education Association. One in four students experience period poverty, she said.

“Without period products, students are more likely to miss school,” Diller said. “By providing tampons and pads, schools can reduce absenteeism, ensuring that students do not miss out on valuable education.”

Archita Raj, an Elkhorn South High School student, also testified in favor of the proposal. Providing menstrual hygiene products at school would help all students, she said, because it would eliminate the anxiety and embarrassment associated with having to take hygiene products into the bathroom discreetly.

“Numerous times, I have felt the anxiety of rummaging through my backpack and stuffing a tampon up my sleeve because I’m ashamed someone might find out that I started my period,” Raj said. “It sounds trivial, but those who menstruate understand just how much of a relief it would be to simply be able to go to the restroom, get a product and come back [to class].”

No one testified in opposition to LB1050 and the committee took no immediate action on it.

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