New “Period Poverty” legislation a step in the right direction

On Wednesday, Aug. 23, Gov. Murphy signed into law legislation that requires schools, which serve menstruating students in grades six through 12, provide products at no cost in at least half the female and gender-neutral bathrooms.

According to the bill, the state will establish a program in the Department of Education to provide districts funding to purchase the supplies and oversee the program. Education officials, in conjunction with leaders from the Department of Health, are also charged with reviewing districts’ progress “periodically” to determine if students are getting the products they need. If not, the state can recommend the program be expanded into the younger grades.

One in four students has struggled to afford pads or tampons, according to a national study by advocates called State of the Period 2021, and half wear them longer than they should — risking infection or other diseases — in order to save money.

Menstruation materials and toiletries drive in Ocean County

Over the spring and summer months, members of Ocean County Council of Education Association collected menstrual products and toiletries, which were donated to the HOPE Center in Toms River. The center compassionately services the members of the Ocean County community who need food, transportation, or assistance during an emergency.

“They were very appreciative,” said OCCEA President Susan Morgan. “We also donated toiletries, in addition to the menstrual products, for some of the people that utilize that service.”

Susan Morgan is the proud president of the Ocean County Council of Education Associations, vice-president of Manchester Township Education Association, and a member of the NJEA Women in Education Committee.

The NJEA Women in Education Committee has been focusing on ending period poverty in New Jersey’s public schools. Read more here and here.