In Texas, as in most of the rest of the United States, breastfeeding in public is legal. Texan moms are not required to cover up, go to the bathroom or leave the premises when their child is hungry and needs to nurse. It's apparently difficult for some folks to understand, particularly an employee at a San Antonio-area Jason's Deli who, according to Jamie Gustafson, took her photo while she nursed her 2-month-old baby.
Not only did this person take a photo of this woman without her permission, but he uploaded it to Facebook to poke fun at her, complete with profanity and other near-unintelligible phrases that deemed her actions low class and trashy.
This is bullying, plain and simple. I wrote about a similar incident earlier this year, in which a mother was photographed without her knowledge or permission while she breastfed her child, and the photo was uploaded with the intent to bully and ridicule. It wasn't OK then, and it's not OK now.
Fortunately Jason's Deli responded quickly with a positive statement to KENS 5.
"We cherish families and value the many wives and mothers who work here, and the wives and mothers who are our guests dining here. Their right to breastfeed their babies is something we support and believe in. We were deeply troubled by this employee's conduct and not only was his conduct an explicit breach of written company policy, it was a violation of the values we care about deeply."
It has also been reported that the deli has terminated the employee and that the mother has filed a police report. The swift acknowledgment by the restaurant is commendable and is the right move. Gustafson has said she's a little more hesitant to nurse in public because of this incident, which is understandable, although it's sad because she's never had an issue before. Hopefully the deli's response will help alleviate her concerns, though, and it has to help to know that the corporation stands behind you.
Moms face enough stress and second-guessing as it is without having to deal with what other people might think about their actions and decisions. Moms should be empowered to do what's best for their infants and their families, without concern from others. It's ultimately not OK to take a photo of a mother without her permission because she's breastfeeding her baby. Fortunately Jason's Deli acted quickly to deal with this situation.
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