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D.C. students will get free pads and tampons in school bathrooms

D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2). Pinto introduced a newly approved bill that makes period products available free to D.C. students. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades for The Washington Post)
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D.C. students will have access to free pads and tampons in school bathrooms, under legislation approved Tuesday by the D.C. Council.

The bill, which was introduced by Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) — whose 2020 council campaign focused on the need for the legislature to better include the perspectives of women — requires public and private schools to stock period products in every girls’ and non-gender-specific bathroom in middle and high schools.

Each elementary school in the city will also be required to make period products available in at least one school bathroom, as well.

The bill specifies that any middle or high school that does not have any non-gender-specific restrooms must also make period products available in one boys’ room in the school, so that transgender students can access them as needed.

At the suggestion of D.C. students who noted that their schools’ curriculum includes health education about menstruation starting in ninth grade — at which point most girls have already begun menstruating — Pinto added language to the bill that directs the school district to develop curriculum materials for teaching public and charter school students about periods as part of their health education as young as fourth grade.