Oswego High School has installed free pad and tampon dispensers over winter break due to a state mandated law that was made effective January 1.
The state passed a new law late August of 2017 that required Illinois school districts to provide free feminine hygiene products for their students. The bill recognized feminine hygiene products as a “health care necessity” and providing them at no cost to students would allow them “to continue with their daily lives with minimal interruption”.
Upon hearing this new state mandate, Oswego High School and the rest of school district 308, began installing free dispensers within the girls’ bathrooms over winter break. Now, students have access to free pads and tampons in virtually any bathroom within the building.
Despite the law being state mandated, the products and installation of machines are not being state funded. Instead, the districts have had to absorb the cost within their own budget.
When asked whether this new policy has hurt the struggling district budget, Assistant Principal Mr. William Nunamaker assured that the budget always keeps in mind certain unexpected costs and that a small policy change wouldn’t affect it to the point of hurting it.
Instead, Mr. Nunamaker described the policy as “pretty popular” and something “most people look at as a positive thing.”
Before the policy change, School Nurse Deb Lewis used to provide free feminine hygiene products within her own office. She was able to do this with the help of Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceutical manufacturing company that provided free pads and tampons. However, three years ago, the company stopped providing said products for free and Ms. Lewis was required to pay for them out of the school’s budget. This resulted in students having to pay a quarter fee.
Now, students are able to acquire a sanitary napkin or tampon from the readily available dispensers, insuring students always feel comfortable when continuing their school day.