Texas Teacher Resigns After Being Refused Time to Pump Breastmilk

pumping breastmilkA Marlin, Texas elementary school teacher has resigned after the Principal of the school, Wes Brown, refused to provide her with time away from her classroom to pump breastmilk. Anna Johnson-Smith requested teacher’s aids to cover her classroom for short durations during the day so she could pump on the schedule suggested by her daughter’s pediatrician.

In an email sent to newly hired Principal Wes Brown on Aug. 1, Smith informed him she was a nursing mother and would need a room for pumping and coverage for her class at 9:30 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.

She said her pediatrician advised her to pump on a schedule that mirrors her daughter’s feeding times to keep her milk supply from drying up.

Brown responded to her email with an assurance he would designate a classroom for teachers who are nursing mothers, but when school started on Aug. 27, he refused to allow aides to cover her class during the times she needed to express her milk.

Johnson-Smith, who has now resigned, attempted to compromise with the school by reducing her request for coverage by aids to just one 15 minute session per day. This request was also rejected.

After not being able to work out a solution with the school, Johnson-Smith turned to the Association of Texas Professional Educators.

“They informed me that the school was not in the wrong legally since I am not covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows nursing mothers to take breaks to express milk,” Smith said. “Teachers, as well as other employees who receive a salary, are exempt from the law.

Read the full story in the Marlin Democrat: Teacher prohibited from expressing milk resigns

Melanie Mayo-Laakso

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Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one’s best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.