Give students free access to period products, period


California came out with a law that public schools must give access to free period products to students. Wisconsin should follow suit. Graphic created by Katie Leach

“They can buy us Macbooks every year but not tampons and pads,” senior Bailey Thibodeaux said. 

On an Instagram poll, out of the 236 people surveyed, 193 responded saying they experience a period. These polls asked Bay Port students, who follow Portside on Instagram, about whether they believe Bay Port should supply free period products in the bathrooms. 

On Oct. 8, California Governor Gavin Newsom, mandated that public high schools and colleges were required to stock restrooms with menstrual products. This will be implemented at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. Wisconsin should implement the same law. 

Imagine waking up and going to school. The first couple hours of the day go by smoothly until you go to the bathroom. You look down at your underwear and they are stained with blood. You started your period. This was not something you were expecting so you did not bring any period products with you. Now, you have to walk back to class to grab some period supplies and ask if you can go back to the bathroom. 

The stress of not having a tampon or pad to use can make a student focus more on that rather than their studies and when a student has to go back to class to grab a period product, this adds extra time that they are out of the classroom, not learning. Learning time is lost because they did not have easy access to period supplies. This burden can simply be fixed by Bay Port supplying free period products in the bathrooms. 

In the female bathrooms, while there are period product dispensers, they charge 25 cents for the product. What student thinks about bringing change to the bathroom? 

“None of us carry coins anymore, that’s just basic logic,” junior Caitlin Drevs said. 

Periods are a natural thing and they affect  over half of the students at Bay Port. Each day, toilet paper, paper towel, and tissue are given to students for free. Period products are no different, and should be free like these supplies. 

“I think they should be free since it is a bodily function that people can’t control and you do not pay to go to the bathroom, or for water, or even food at lunch,” junior Gabby McGuire said. “So why should people need to pay for period products.”

Having to pay for period products also adds to the stigma surrounding periods and menstrual cycles.  If Bay Port were to provide free period products in the bathrooms, this would create a positive step into creating menstrual equality and lower the stigma around periods.

Those who choose to avoid dealing with their period altogether, don’t change their tampons throughout the whole school day, which can increase the risk of toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock syndrome is an aureus staph infection. Giving students easy access to period products can create a healthier society. 

Bay Port should provide free period products in the bathrooms for students. Period.