Legislation Notes

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AB 10 (C. Garcia) – We have concerns…

CAPSO accepts and supports the authority of the state to reasonably regulate private schools.  At times, however, we encounter proposed legislation that, in our view, violates a common sense notion of what is reasonable.  AB 10, authored by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D. – Bell Gardens) is an example of a bill with good intentions that, nevertheless, crosses the line.  Though CAPSO has not yet taken a formal position on the measure, we do have concerns.

In short, if AB 10 should be enacted in its current form, every school maintaining any combination of classes from kindergarten to grade 12, inclusive, will be required to see that every campus restroom is stocked at all times with feminine hygiene products. It is unclear whether private schools will have the option of making the products available on a for purchase basis, or whether they are to be stocked in no-pay dispensers, or containers.

There are several reasons why we regard this requirement as problematic. First, the bill’s provisions would impose a costly mandate upon California’s private schools without furnishing evidence of need.  Many private schools already make feminine hygiene products available in restrooms, though not necessarily on a “without purchase” basis.  Most schools also stock a supply of tampons and sanitary napkins in case of emergency, and make them available on an as-needed basis through the school office, or school nurse.  We are unaware of the presence of widespread dissatisfaction,  discomfort, or anxiety among private school families and students owing to the lack of availability of feminine hygiene products in school restrooms.

Second, in the bill’s original version it was the intent of the author that the state would provide public and private schools, alike, “with an adequate supply of feminine hygiene products sufficient to meet the needs of all female pupils.”  When amended on March 7, 2017, however, state funding for private schools was written out of the bill. If private schools will be required to foot the bill for the mandate proposed by AB 10, the cost will be borne by students’ families in the form of increased tuition.  That being the case, AB 10 should permit private schools to follow policies that meet the needs and expectations of their families.

AB 10 crosses the line of reasonableness in making its mandate applicable to schools “maintaining any combination of classes from kindergarten to grade 12, inclusive.”  While one would be hard pressed to find a public school that offers instruction in kindergarten, only, there are 127 private schools that do just that.  In nearly 300 private schools, the highest level at which instruction is offered is grade 4.  If enacted in its present form, AB 10 would require all of these schools to stock feminine hygiene products in all restrooms.

Finally, there is the matter of all-boys schools. Unless amended, AB 10 would require a school such as Yeshiva University High School of Los Angeles to supply all of its restrooms with feminine hygiene products.  When CAPSO suggested that such a requirement might be unreasonable, the response offered by a member of Assemblymember Garcia’s staff was: “It’s possible that some students in an all-boys school menstruate.”

That may be true.  It is, after all, possible (if unlikely) that a transgender student may be enrolled in an Orthodox Jewish yeshiva for boys.  But that possibility does not make it reasonable to impose the mandate prescribed by AB 10 upon such a school.

If you have similar concerns about AB 10, you may wish to share them with Assemblymember Cristina Garcia’s staff member, Michelle Teran.  Ms. Teran can be reached at (916) 319-2058  or emailed at: Michelle.Teran@asm.ca.gov

The CAPSO Legislation Tracker provides daily updates on pending legislation of interest to California’s private school community.

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