A nursing mom says a school principal asked her to cover up when nursing her baby in sight of students, but things got hairy when she stood her ground and refused, citing Florida law.
Florida law says moms can breastfeed their babies with or without a cover. Even so, Maegan Shoemaker had covered herself and her daughter using a baby carrier while nursing on a set of bleachers as she supported her niece during a school running activity. Still, principal Carolyn McAllister approached her, said she had received a complaint from a parent, and requested she use a cover when nursing her child on school grounds.
Shoemaker says she was initially shocked and nodded agreement but soon began to realize that McAllister’s request was unlawful. “After a couple minutes of quiet contemplation, I felt impressed to go and notify her that Florida Law permits me to breastfeed anywhere that I myself am permitted to be, with or without a cover,” she writes in a statement provided to the Equal Opportunity Specialist for Okaloosa County Schools.
The confrontation that took place in the school office is what officials contend led to Shoemaker’s banishment from the school grounds. However, Shoemaker says she never got violent or belligerent, as the principal claims. Shoemaker shares that she wasn’t backing down, but she never raised her voice, and she didn’t curse as she made her case. Regardless, she was followed and issued a trespass warning by the school resource office and can’t be on school grounds for the rest of the school year.
The school says this isn’t about breastfeeding, but McAllister told the press that she asked Shoemaker to use discretion around the kids and that it was a disruption. If Shoemaker was standing up for her rights, then why was she booted off campus for the rest of the year?
The argument seems to be that kids shouldn’t see breastfeeding. If so, then breastfeeding is being cast in a sexual light — boobs are sex, and women who nurse in public are simply showing off their sex parts.
Well, no. Actually, moms just want to feed their kids, and the more children who actually see mothers breastfeed, the better. Do you know why? Because they will grow up to not be adults who can’t deal with nursing moms. More mothers will breastfeed in public because they won’t worry about what others think, and they won’t have to wonder if someone is going to raise a stink because they’re feeding their kids.
Whether or not Shoemaker was violent and belligerent in the school’s office is still up in the air, as both sides say different things, but the reason the situation arose in the first place is because a school principal was violating the state law. Moms can nurse babies, and it won’t damage anyone who sees it unless they are taught that it’s wrong, dirty and sexual. That needs to change.