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Free Pads, Tampons Coming To 25 NYC Public Schools

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A pilot program that provides free tampons and pads at New York City public schools is expanding.

By the end of the month, 25 middle and high schools in Queens and the Bronx will be getting free feminine hygiene product dispensers.

It's part of an initiative launched by Queens Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

"This initiative will provide 11,600 New York City girls with free pads and tampons in their bathrooms," Ferreras-Copeland announced Monday at Newtown High School in Elmhurst. "Feminine hygiene products are not a luxury item... We were ignoring a major part of a woman's life, that we were turning a blind eye to a significant need."

Tenth grader Layla Jackson believes the move will help girls avoid what can be an embarrassing trip to the school nurse.

"I think that there's a certain stigma about it so girls feel the need to hide it and not discuss it openly," Jackson said.

The pilot program began last fall at the High School of Arts and Business in Corona, where Principal Ana Zambrano said fewer girls are skipping class. Attendance increased nearly 3 percent after the dispensers were installed.

"It was a big deal for the girls, they were embarrassed," Zambrano said.

The ultimate goal is not only to have the dispensers in city schools, but in jails and women's shelters.

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