Skip to main content
Delaware Senate Democrats

Senate passes bill requiring schools to provide free period products

March 25, 2021

DOVER – The Delaware State Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation requiring schools throughout the state to provide students with tampons, pads and other period products free of charge, starting next school year.

“This legislation will directly impact the lives of menstruating students throughout our state by providing them with a basic level of dignity as they attend Delaware schools,” said Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, D-Talleyville, the prime Senate sponsor of House Bill 20. “By openly addressing this issue, we are demonstrating our commitment to remove the stigma of menstruation. Thank you to my Senate colleagues for voting to support the students who today are missing classes because they lack access to period products.”

A recent survey found that 1 in 4 have missed class due to a lack of access to period products, while two-thirds reported feeling stress due to a lack of access to those products. More than 80% also said a lack of access to period products is an issue not talked about enough.

A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology on low-income women found that women already experiencing food insecurity were more likely to struggle to purchase basic menstrual hygiene products, with 21% of women unable to afford them on a monthly basis. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty about 41% of children in Delaware are considered low-income.

“Period products are essential to our daily lives, but somewhere along the way, they became a luxury,” said Rep. Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, the prime House sponsor. “People of all ages struggle with the financial burden of period products, particularly low-income families. This adds an unnecessary stress on children.

“We have the opportunity and responsibility to take a stand for period equity by providing access to safe, sanitary period products. I’m proud to take this step forward so that our Delaware children can go about their daily lives with dignity, and without shame or worry.”

HB 20 would require all Delaware public and charter schools that serve students in grades 6-12 to provide menstrual hygiene products in half of their bathrooms at no cost to students. HB 20 also requires that menstrual products be made available in half of bathrooms designated non-gender conforming and that schools publish on its website and post in common areas the locations where the hygiene products would be provided.

Based on the Delaware Department of Education’s 2019 enrollment count, more than 37,000 students who menstruate could benefit from the products provided by HB 20.

Introduced in December and passed unanimously by the House last week, HB 20 now heads to Governor John Carney for his signature.