LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A group of young mothers who breastfeed their children are banding together to support a teacher who says the LAUSD is making it difficult for her to breastfeed her child while at work.
Tonya Reyes said the LAUSD is making it difficult for her to breastfeed her infant daughter Solana on campus.
The group of Reyes supporters are holding a “nurse-in” to support the English teacher.
Nursing mothers lined up to feed their babies outside Metropolitan Continuation High School in downtown LA.
“We serve the kids, help us serve our kids lunch,” said teacher and mom Nicolette Morales.
“It is kinda like her principal is telling her you can’t nourish and feed your child,” says Jenn Sherry Parry.
Reyes’ caregiver used to bring Solana to campus every day so the new mom could nurse her during her unpaid lunch break. But on Monday Reyes says she was told it was against district policy and a liability to allow children of staff members on campus during school hours. Reyes says her daughter won’t take a bottle. So this week, she nursed her off campus on the street.
“No baby should be on the street right now, trying to eat. This is a dirty street. And we’re in an industrial part of town,” says Parry.
Reyes says she couldn’t talk on camera. She says this morning she got an email from her principal saying it was against district policy for teachers to talk to the media.
Morales, currently on maternity leave with her second child, says the district needs to do more to accommodate lactating teachers. She says with her first, she was given a copy room to pump in. A room, she says, everyone had a key to and could enter at any time.
“There needs to be a designated space that is private for moms to be able to feed and provide for their kids,” says Morales.
In a statement, LAUSD says it is in full compliance with state and federal laws regarding lactation in the workplace. It goes on to say, “We have interacted with and have been both flexible and reasonable with the employee to accommodate her needs in accordance with our policy.”