Feminine Products In NH School Bathrooms


Alyssa Sangillo, Staff Writer

Imagine being a young female student walking into the school bathroom. To your surprise, there is a newly installed feminine products dispenser. What’s special about it? It’s free. Just last year, New Hampshire passed SB 142–meaning that all NH middle school and high school bathrooms are required by law to have dispensers in that that provide free pads and tampons.

SB-142 was signed by Governor Sununu on July 17, 2019 and was effective immediately. SB-142 states that the school board has to make feminine hygiene products available, free of charge, in girl’s bathrooms located in public high schools. The school districts are responsible for taking care of the payments for feminine hygiene costs. Now, every middle school and high school in NH has free dispensers of tampons and pads in the bathrooms. Here at Goffstown High School, there are Tampax individually wrapped tampons in the dispensers, as well as individually packaged Maxi-thins. Both the pads and tampons are of regular absorbency.

The idea of free feminine hygiene products is nice, but do schools really need it? Goffstown High School is lucky to have nurses like Mrs. Kendall and Mrs. Rocheleau, who are very considerate of students and their needs.  They, along with other school nurses, have already been providing students with free feminine products for ages. Any time a student needs femine hygiene products, they are more than welcome to stop by the nurses office and grab what they need. Mrs. Kendall inputs that students never have to ask for supplies, they are always free. Students can walk in and grab what they need, with no questions asked. The nurses understand that it is a private situation, and they don’t watch as students come in and grab what they need.

There aren’t any advertisements about the nurses office having free feminine products, but it is a given that nurses would have feminine products. If none of your friends have anything to give you, who is the next person you would go to? The nurse.

Mrs. Kendall recalled going to a School Nurse Association meeting and mentioned that there was “not one office that wasn’t providing” free femining products for students. Like GHS other districts also have nurse offices who already provided free feminine products for students prior to SB-142. Unfortunately, not every school’s nurses are as good with providing students with feminine hygiene products as GHS’s. So, in some cases SB-142 is necessary.

Mrs. Kendall and Rocheleau are not angry or upset at the passing of SB-142, they just don’t see it as something that is necessary. Unlike the dispensers in the bathrooms, Mrs. Kendall and Rocheleau  provide students with a variety of products. The dispensers only have one type of tampons and pads, but in the nurse’s office there is a variety of pads, panty liners and tampons. The products the nurses have are more accommodating than the ones the dispensers have. Every female’s body has different needs. Some girls need heavier protection, whereas others just need a thin layer of protection. The products in the nurse’s office vary in levels of period leakage protection. The dispensers in the bathrooms only provide one level of protection: regular.

As mentioned before, the free dispensers are not only in high school bathrooms, but middle school bathrooms as well. Putting the free dispensers in middle school bathrooms comes with its own set of problems, one of which is that a portion of middle schoolers have already taken the liberty of misusing the products. As Mrs. Rocheleau says, there have been instances where middle schoolers (at Mountain View Middle School) have taken pads and tampons from the dispensers and stuck them to the bathroom walls. If instances like that are happening at MVMS, there is a chance they are happening at other middle schools as well.

Sure, adding free feminine products to the school bathrooms is a good thought, but it may not be as necessary as some may think. In NH schools such as GHS, students were already given access to free feminine products whenever they need them. Despite the dispensers being installed, Mrs. Kendall and Rocheleau will continue to have feminine products in their office for anytime a student may need it.