PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Rhode Island lawmakers have approved legislation that would make feminine hygiene products accessible for students statewide.
The bill now heads to Gov. Dan McKee’s desk. If signed into law, free tampons and pads must be made available in female and gender-neutral bathrooms throughout public schools that teach grades 5-12.
Sen. Valarie Lawson, a social studies teacher at East Providence High School, said she sees the need firsthand.
“These products are a daily necessity to so many students and just as schools provide toilet paper for the bathrooms,” Lawson, the bill’s sponsor said. “These products should also be readily accessible for our students in need.”
“These products are not luxuries, they are necessities for many of our students. If soap and paper towels are available in bathrooms, so should feminine hygiene products, it’s as simple as that,” echoed Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, who sponsored companion legislation in the R.I. House.
Hagan McEntee also said the bill will, “prevent the embarrassment suffered by our students who have an accident during the school day and afford them the dignity that they deserve.”
It’s unclear at this time if and when McKee plans to sign the legislation.