Staff Editorial: Bill finally provides free menstrual products to students

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This is a piece of art representing the two main types of menstrual products and showcasing them under a big “For Free sign. This goes with our Editorial on the new bill being passed to make menstrual products free for students. This is a digital piece I created from a blank page creating my own patterns and colors to show the most used period products. I hope this helps improve my art and people enjoy it even if it’s a little strange.
This is a piece of art representing the two main types of menstrual products and showcasing them under a big “For Free” sign. This goes with our Editorial on the new bill being passed to make menstrual products free for students. This is a digital piece I created from a blank page creating my own patterns and colors to show the most used period products. I hope this helps improve my art and people enjoy it even if it’s a little strange.
Anna Samuels

Free and easy access to menstrual products in public schools should become a reality just like paper towels, soap, and toilet paper. Legislative Bill 1050, introduced by Sen. Conrad of Lincoln, would require public schools to provide free period products such as pads and tampons in girl’s bathrooms starting in the 2025-2026 school year. The bill explains that the State Board of Education will form a system in which they will provide menstrual products to school districts and determine how much product is necessary.

Not only would this bill benefit menstruating students financially, but it would also promote greater menstrual health, and relieve some of the emotional stress that comes with periods. 

Many students do not have access to high-quality menstrual products. In fact, a study cited by the National Conference of State Legislatures stated that 64 percent of female high school students reported not being able to afford period products at least once during the school year, and this same study also found that 34 percent of female students had reported missing school due to lack of these products.

The Nebraska Legislature has the chance to rectify this issue through LB 1050. By providing menstrual products in female bathrooms, the legislature can lift some financial burden off of low-income students, and in turn, increase attendance.

Though schools offer a form of product distribution through the nurse’s office, the current process takes time out of students’ academic instruction. These visits can take a varying amount of time depending on how many other students are waiting for the nurse and how far away the office is. LB 1050 would allow access to these supplies to be more efficient and shorten the amount of time it takes out of class.

The passing of LB 1050 would also have the effect of increasing the overall menstrual health of students. Public schools already provide other basic necessities such as band-aids and toilet paper, and period products should be no different. Items like pads and tampons are a medical necessity to maintain good reproductive health. Without access to proper tools, many students have to improvise supplies or use products longer than intended. These kinds of practices can lead to health conditions like Toxic Shock Syndrome and Urinary Tract Infections. Periods are not a choice, and students should have the resources to care for themselves while at school.

Periods can also cause increased anxiety among many students, a large portion of which stems from the fear of not being able to handle unexpected situations quickly and privately. Many students feel scared and embarrassed at the thought of their period becoming noticeable to others, which is amplified without access to proper supplies. Supplying menstrual products in school bathrooms would allow them to feel more confident during the school day. An easy-to-access supply will also benefit students who may feel uncomfortable asking others for menstrual products. Students should be able to go to school with the assurance that they can quickly handle menstrual situations, and LB 1050 could make that a reality for everyone.

Concerns about the funding necessary for this initiative are understandable, however, LB 1050 has the potential to increase overall attendance, improve menstrual health, and help menstruating students feel more comfortable at school  This could be a vital step in the battle to eliminate period poverty in Nebraska, and we are hopeful that the legislature will pass this essential bill.

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