Starting in the 2022-2023 academic year, it is mandatory for the gender-neutral and female bathrooms to have feminine hygiene products in the schools teaching grades 5-12 throughout Rhode Island.
“We all know how necessary feminine hygiene products are, but what many people do not realize, and I see this as a long time educator, is that a lack of access to these products can cause students to miss crucial school days,” bill sponsor Sen. Valarie Lawson, a Democrat from East Providence, said in a statement. “These products are a daily necessity to so many students and just as schools provide toilet paper for the bathrooms, these products should also be readily accessible for our students in need.”
State Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, a Democrat from South Kingstown, was the House sponsor of the bill.
“If soap and paper towels are available in bathrooms, so should feminine hygiene products, it’s as simple as that,” she said.
In 2019, Mayor Jorge Elorza started a pilot program of this where some Providence schools received free feminine products.