A college student claims her professor told her not to breastfeed her baby girl during online classes.
The lecturer told the woman to wait until after lessons had finished before breastfeeding because he considered it “inappropriate”.
College student told not to breastfeed
Marcellea Mares is the mother of a 10-month old girl and studies at the Fresno City College in California.
She received an email from her lecturer last month outlining a new online class rule requiring students to turn on their cameras and microphones to confirm their attendance.
In response, the lecturer emailed her back, directing her not to breastfeed during class:
“I am glad to hear that you can have your camera and microphone on, but please do not breastfeed your daughter during class time because it is not what you should be doing. Just do that after class.”
Mares expressed her shock to CNN:
“I was upset about it. I didn’t like the feeling of him telling me what I can and can’t do with my baby, especially in my own home because school is online right now.”
Furthermore, Mares claimed the lecturer told the rest of the class that he received a “weird” email from a student who wanted to do some “inappropriate” things during lectures.
As a result of the lecturer’s conduct, Mares made a formal complaint to a coordinator at the College.
The young mother subsequently received an email from the lecturer apologising for his behaviour.
The email read:
“I am sorry for the inconvenience in regard to your intention of breastfeeding your baby.
“From now on, you have the right to breastfeed your baby at any given time during class, which includes doing group worksheet, listening to the lecture, and taking the quiz or exam.
“You may turn off your camera at any given time as needed.”
Fresno City College spokesperson Kathy Bonilla confirmed the school had received a complaint.
She admitted the lecturer had not been aware of discrimination laws in relation to breastfeeding.
In California, the law requires schools to accommodate students for conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth, including breastfeeding.
For example, providing time away from class to breastfeed without academic penalty.
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan says breastfeeding discrimination is unlawful.
“A woman cannot be unfairly treated for breastfeeding in employment, in the provision of goods and services and in education,” he said.
“New mothers have the right to breastfeed their bub at work, on public transport, or inside buildings and offices, and certainly while studying at university.”
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