A Corona high school is the first in New York City to have a free sanitary napkin and tampon dispensers in a girls’ restroom.
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland announced on Tuesday the machine’s installation at the High School for Arts and Business, which will provide young ladies with feminine hygiene products free of charge. HOSPECO, which Ferreras-Copeland described as an “industry leader” in feminine hygiene product vending, provided donations for the dispenser.
The Corona vending machine will feature Tampax tampons and Maxithins sanitary napkins throughout the 2015-16 school year.
“Offering free menstrual care supplies as we do toilet paper and condoms is a matter of avoiding health risks, eliminating the stigma that surrounds a natural part of a woman’s life, and for girls in school, not having to skip class because they got their period,” she said. “Feminine hygiene products allow women and girls to carry out their daily responsibilities uninterrupted, and they should always be easily accessible.”
“We are happy to pilot this program and we must ensure that girls have the support they need to succeed each and every day,” added Deputy Schools Chancellor Elizabeth Rose.
“This is a valuable service to provide and I am glad that girls at my school will have free access to these products,” said Ana Zambrano, principal of the Arts and Business High School.
Fifty-six percent of the Corona school’s 850 students are female. At year’s end, the DOE and city will evaluate the dispenser’s usage to form best practices and potential improvements.
Ferreras-Copeland and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, meanwhile, plan to introduce legislation requiring free feminine hygiene products available in public schools and other institutions. They also aim to lobby the state to eliminate sales taxes on sanitary napkins and tampons, which the Federal Drug Administration classifies as medical devices.