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Ariana Ortega of Ft. Collins says she often struggles to afford purchasing menstrual hygiene products. Products donated through a local nonprofit allow Ortega to put money towards food and other necessities instead. Photo by Valerie Mosley

As the new school term begins at Denver Public Schools (DPS), students who menstruate may be surprised to find new additions near the paper towels and soap in girls’, all-gender and teacher restrooms: free tampons and menstrual pads.

While many private and public schools in the state have tampons and pads available for sale in restrooms, until recently getting access to free supplies would mean asking a school nurse or administrator—sometimes embarrassing for a young student, especially one who is transgender or nonbinary. DPS is among the first school districts in the state to now make free supplies easily available in all elementary, middle and high schools.

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