A 25-year-old mom attended the Mile Club with her nephew, and brought her infant daughter with her. When the baby got hungry, she did what any nursing mom does she sat on the bleachers facing the track, and nursed her child.
Me, being numbered amongst a Highly Offensive Mom, I have a definite opinion on this matter. Let me say, first of all, I was not at the school, my daughter was not on the Mile Club field, and I am only relating this story based on statements by friends of mine, the staff at the school, and Fox News. I fully admit that I’m getting half of the story. That being said, my daughter does attend this school, and I am very upset by this story.
Both of my children were nursed. My son was breastfed via a pump due to his medical issues (that had not been diagnosed at the time). He was unable to latch and breastfeed normally. My daughter was nursed for 12 months. She was a champion breastfeeding natural. I nursed her everywhere. I often did not cover up, because she was a wiggle worm and would always manage to remove the cover. I was asked on several occasions to remove myself from Walmart, some restaurants, and even Target. I normally just ignored the requests to remove myself, continued to nurse, and then go about my business. It never escalated to calling the cops, or into a shouting match. I knew my rights, but I didn’t let anyone bother me that much that I was given a citation.
The two things that upsets me the most is that someone is my feeling as a parent that someone is being rewarded for poor behavior, and that the news will only cover the rights of students and teachers if it applies to perfect children. The woman was banned from campus, because she had come into the office in a threatening manner. Whether she was a threat, or not, was not up to the administrators to decide. She had come in aggressively stating her rights to nurse her child (which I do NOT disagree with). The administrators here are charged with the education and protection of our children, and when you are aggressive like she was, the administrators are well within their rights to protect my child. Furthermore, taking the ban back, is taking the power to protect our children away from the principal. At school, my child’s right to a safe learning environment away from parents, who are “going off” on administrator. There are ways for the mother to express her displeasure at the principal’s behavior without getting banned.
The other fact that bothers me regarding this issue is the attention this has received by the news media, when there are glaring problems with the school district that have gone unchecked for years. In 2011, we placed my son in this district. He had an IEP for autism. They refused to follow the IEP, and he started to have negative behaviors. He was neglected at the school by a teacher that is no longer employed there.
One day, he banged his head against a desk 14 times, and the teacher did not intervene, even though I signed paperwork for restraint if he was a danger to himself or others. Further, he complained about not being able to see after the head banging incident, and was not sent to a nurse’s office. I have evidence of this neglect, it was reported to the sheriff’s department, only to be “lost,” and there was no follow up.
I pulled my son from the district, and was investigated by the truancy office, because my son had an inordinate number of absences. I kept my son at home when he was “off,” and he was “off” quite a bit, because he had autism. I was afraid that another similar incident would occur on bad days, so I kept him home. A few months later, my son developed epilepsy. I was distraught.
We filed a state complaint and won. The teacher had to go through re-education on IEPs. But in the report from the school, everything was about my parenting. I was overly permissive, abusive, I allowed my son to hit me, and I was difficult to work with. The school used my son’s behavior to justify his illegal placement. After we had pulled him from the district, we discovered that there were more stories of similar treatment. I attempted to go to the press, I wrote letters to everyone I could think of, and I even got a lawyer. We started to get threats, and my advocacy was starting to affect my daughter’s education.
We dropped any thoughts of a lawsuit, and have lived peacefully with the school district. It upsets me that the school district can get away with stuff like what happened with my son, and it gets swept under the rug, and no one is outraged by it. A young mother, who does not have a child attending the school in question, can nearly get arrested, and banned from school, and get national coverage for having a tantrum that would make a 2-year-old blush. While there are children in this district that are not getting the education rightfully owed to them by the Federal Government.
I will write a letter to the school board regarding the principal keeping her job. I expect her to use her judgment when faced with an issue like this, and I expect her to react conservatively for the safety of my children. I certainly hope that the young woman involved will learn that there is an appropriate way of handling things, and when you go to a school, you are there at the invitation of the parents and the staff of that school.
As far as I am concerned, your rights to nurse your child do not supersede my child’s right to be educated in a safe, non-confrontational environment. I certainly hope that while the ban was lifted, the woman was talked to very strongly about her behavior on campus. She should be able to nurse anywhere, and at any time, but she does not have freedom of speech at a school where her children are not in attendance.
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