Students at Hawaii’s public schools may soon be able to get free menstrual products.
A bill that would provide $1 million to the Department of Education to distribute period pads and tampons because many students cannot afford them is nearing passage in the state legislature.
Students at Ilima Intermediate School in Honolulu, known as Ms. Mili, and science instructor Sarah Milianta-Laffin, better known as Ms. Mili, are behind the bill.
They suggest that classroom supplies should include period goods.
“What we’ve learned from the data is that there are a lot of students who can’t afford these products and don’t have access. And when the students don’t have access, they miss days of school and learning opportunities. And we definitely want to make sure now more than ever that kids are in school and having the supplies they need to learn,” Milianta-Laffin said.
Ninth grader and activist Reizel-Nicole Escoto: “Some of us can’t really afford that much money to buy luxuries such as period products that they have to weigh. They have to consider if they want food that night or they want pads or tampons or napkins.”
In one of the worst-case situations, young women are forced to utilize leaves and paper to make their own toiletries.
The group’s goal is to reduce the social stigma associated with discussing menstruation by enacting the legislation.