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Group concerned about menstruation education sends 1,000 letters to DeSantis

Posted at 7:18 PM, May 16, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) — A national group with a van with a play-on-words name aims to send a message to Governor Ron DeSantis.

I Support the Girls, a non-profit focused on providing feminine hygiene products and bras to those in need, delivered 1,000 letters against a bill their founder Dana Marlowe said would ban education on period cycles for young students.

"These Florida students in third, forth and fifth grade need to talk to their teachers. It may be the first time they have an understanding of what is happening to them," Marlowe said. "Perhaps their parents haven't explained it or their environment does not permit that conversation. So, that might be the safest place for them to get information about what is happening."

Marlowe's mission with her organization is to prepare women for their menstrual cycles with pads, tampons and education.

She worries a bill sitting on the governor's desk could take that important education away from Florida elementary school students.

"It's a very unique time as students go through puberty so we wanted to let them know that the need to be able to just say period is so important so we sent over 1,000 letters from folks all over Florida," Marlowe said.

People wrote letters urging the governor to not sign HB 1069, saying that period education would give "...all students the opportunity to learn and thrive without shame or stigma."

The bill will limit discussion on sexuality and gender identity in grades K-5.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Stan McClain, said on the house floor in March that this would apply to conversations about puberty.

Mary Deschler with the Oasis Center for Women and Girls said this education is essential.

"The importance of educating young women about their cycle could not be more timely of a discussion because women are getting their periods younger and younger," Deschler said. "They call it precocious puberty and that is when young women at an earlier age than the typical age."

With one in four teens in Tallahassee missing work or school because of lack of access to menstrual products, Marlowe said taking away early education on periods will make that divide worse.

She said she will continue to provide resources like education and menstrual products if this bill is passed.

"Bodily autonomy and understanding what is going on to one's body as it changes during times of puberty is so important," Marlowe said.

ABC 27's team reached out to the bill's two sponsors. We have not received a comment back.

If signed by the governor, this bill would go into effect July 1.