The Jefferson County Republican Party’s latest gripe? A bill to help public schools stock their bathrooms with menstrual hygiene products.
It all started when a group of Arvada high school students requested that their school administration install tampon and pad dispensers in the bathrooms. When they were told they didn’t have the money, CBS4’s Shaun Boyd reported, the Intersectional Feminist Club at Arvada West High School took matters into their own hands, raising the money and getting the product dispensers installed themselves.
Then, in an attempt to make sure other high school kids in Colorado don’t have to put up the same fight, they enlisted the help of their elected representative.
State Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada) is now planning to push a bill to create a grant program to help schools afford tampon and pad dispensers, giving priority to those with larger portions of low-income students.
The Jefferson County Republican Party was quick to scoff at the effort, sharing the CBS Denver news story on Facebook and writing, “If this proposed legislation is any indication of what the next legislative session will be like, we’re in for a wild ride!”
It also referred to Rep. Titone as “#tooextremetitone.”
In a comment, Titone was quick to clarify that the bill doesn’t require schools to stock free pads and tampons, it just sets up a grant program funded largely through donations that schools can choose to apply for.
The Jefferson County GOP responded not by directly addressing the substance of Titone’s comment or the bill itself, but rather appeared to mock the issue as a whole.
When female students get their periods at school and don’t have access to a pad or tampon, they often leave class and go home, according to a recent survey from the menstrual hygiene company Always, which found that one in five girls in the country have had this experience.
Advocates say the issue is particularly severe for low-income students who may not be able to afford proper menstrual hygiene, a phenomenon they refer to as “period poverty.”
Women typically spend more than a hundred dollars per year on menstrual hygiene products, and the consequences of stretching their supply and not changing them often enough can be fatal. Still, in most states, including Colorado, tampons and pads aren’t exempt from sales taxes, unlike other personal care and medical items deemed necessary “non-luxury” goods. This summer, the Denver City Council voted to remove the so-called “tampon tax.”
The Jefferson County GOP didn’t respond to a request for comment seeking to know if it also believes that government shouldn’t be responsible for stocking public school bathrooms with other basic necessities like soap, paper towels, and toilet paper.