New Jersey school districts are now required to offer free menstrual products for students in grades six through 12. A new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy requires that school districts provide free menstrual products in at least half of all their female and gender-neutral bathrooms.
The new legislation is heralded in light of the State of The Period 2021 study, which found that “[a]lmost half of Black and Latinx students feel they are not able to do their best school work because of lack of access to period products, compared to 28% among white students.
“Students do not think schools foster an environment in which they feel comfortable discussing periods or even attending class while they are on their periods,” the study reported. “This stigma and lack of access can have a very real impact on a student’s education, especially for students of color and lower-income students who tend to be more impacted by lack of access to products.
New Jersey will do occasional surveys to determine whether the provision of these products is meeting the needs of menstruating students; and the state will pay any costs incurred by schools for the menstrual products.”
“Gov. Murphy’s visionary initiative to make menstrual products freely available in our middle and high schools is monumental progress toward achieving menstrual equity in our education system,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, acting commissioner of education. “Menstrual hygiene should never hinder a student’s ability to fully engage and thrive in the classroom. By providing free access to these essential products, we are not only promoting health and well-being but also erasing a potential source of discomfort and stigma. This step underscores our dedication to fostering an environment where all students can focus on their education without the burden of unmet basic needs. It is a stride towards a more just and inclusive educational experience.”