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Hearing held on bill requiring free menstrual products in schools

Supporters say periods are a natural bodily function, and the products are a basic necessity that girls can't always afford

HARTFORD, Conn. — A bill went before the Public Health Committee today that would require middle and high schools to provide free menstrual supplies to girls.

Tampons and pads can cost someone roughly $7-$10 a box, and supporters of the bill say that's not something everyone can afford. 

Periods are a natural bodily function, and supporters say that the products are a basic necessity for girls. 

If the bill passes, schools would be required to provide free feminine products inside their bathrooms for girls in the 6th-12th grade. 

Some high schools girls have written about their experiences to lawmakers, stating that not having pads or tampons at their school has caused them to leave school early or even miss school completely. 

"Oftentimes, the nurses office is in an area in the school that is far away from the classroom, or if you're in that sticky situation, you can't walk all the way there," said Amy Barratt, a senior at Greenwich High School. "It's really stigmatizing menstruation in a way that it should not be stigmatized."

Greenwich recently passed an ordinance that would require its schools to provide students feminine hygiene products inside bathrooms. Students want to urge the rest of the state to do the same and have school districts include it in their budget. 

Lawmakers estimate that it would cost the state about $400,000 for the first year, and they are looking into grants to help offset the cost.