Teen mom not allowed to bf at school! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 68 Old 10-09-2009, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ladies, I'm pretty new to mdc so I hope I'm posting in the right spot but I need some input. My friend shared with me that her mil, a nurse at a NJ high school, has a 14 yr old student with a new baby. The student's baby will attend the school's on site day care but the school will not let the mother leave her classes ten min early to bf her baby at the day care. At all. No exceptions.

I do not understand this at all! How is that even legal? Here we have a 14yr old mother who is trying to make the right choices for her LO and the MEN in the school's administration are telling her no?! Makes me sick. My friend and I have offered our pumps to that poor young mama but I can't imagine being in that sort of situation. It will be so difficult for her to continue her bfing relationship with this obstacle!

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#2 of 68 Old 10-09-2009, 11:37 PM
 
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well.. this may be an unpopular opinion, but she may have to do like the rest of us that work or go to school and schedule her study halls so she can nurse before school, at studyhall at lunch maybe a second study hall and at the end of the day. I know when I was in HS 2 study halls/ day were the max.

I know I have to pump at night at home for DS's bottles during the day. You have to do what you need to do and not expect people to make special accommodations for you because you are breastfeeding

she could also look into ECOT or whatever your state calls online highschool. (I don't know if it's an Ohio thing or what) My youngest sister does it and is about to graduate a quarter early.

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#3 of 68 Old 10-09-2009, 11:48 PM
 
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It's hard to judge without all of the facts. There are so many facets to a 14-year-old having a baby....I wouldn't know where to start. I think it's great that she is nursing, however.

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#4 of 68 Old 10-09-2009, 11:48 PM
 
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I think it is ridiculous.

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#5 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry I wasn't clear in my OP. This girl is not asking to leave all classes 10 min early. (I agree, I can see how that may interfere w/her education) She wants to leave one class before lunch 10 min early so she has time to nurse during her lunch break. Admin says no, your baby can have a bottle at day care.

And I'm at a loss about a 14 yr old having a baby too...I just think she should have more support to make healthy choices for her LO.

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#6 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 01:18 AM
 
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well.. this may be an unpopular opinion, but she may have to do like the rest of us that work or go to school and schedule her study halls so she can nurse before school, at studyhall at lunch maybe a second study hall and at the end of the day.
I agree. If she were to leave that one class 10 minutes early each day that would equal her missing one full class, or 20% of class time every week. Depending on what the subject is that 50 minutes could make a real difference.
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#7 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 01:22 AM
 
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I disagree that leaving early is that big of a deal really (and I'm a highschool teacher!). Her teacher could easily work with her if he/she were willing. People leave classes early all the time for worse reasons (*cough Athletics cough*).
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#8 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 01:38 AM
 
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Sorry I wasn't clear in my OP. This girl is not asking to leave all classes 10 min early. (I agree, I can see how that may interfere w/her education) She wants to leave one class before lunch 10 min early so she has time to nurse during her lunch break. Admin says no, your baby can have a bottle at day care.

And I'm at a loss about a 14 yr old having a baby too...I just think she should have more support to make healthy choices for her LO.
First off- I am really impressed the 14 year old is nursing- good for her. Is there some way she can eat while she nurses her baby? Since they won't let her leave class early, can she take a sandwich to eat while nursing, or have someone else help bring her food to the daycare area if needed? I am guessing the baby can't go to the cafeteria, which makes it difficult for her to have lunch and nurse her baby.

Wonder what kind of class they won't let her leave early? I know I had some teachers in high school who taught the whole time, but most were done instructing and had us working on our homework the last part of class. Its horrible that the admin. thinks its OK to tell her her baby should have a bottle- that's just not their right.

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#9 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 02:17 AM
 
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I am horrified that the school would take it upon itself to make this decision. Seriously?! As a reporter on the newspaper staff, I had the freedom to leave any class I wanted any time to cover a story.

The school should both be encouraging her to finish her education and be a responsible mother. It sounds like they're pitting those two goals against each other.

If I thought the girl was motivated to finish her education, I would be encouraging her to stay home. There are all sorts of correspondence courses--many are Web-based-- that would allow her to finish high school and receive a diploma while still being able to breastfeed her baby at will. Of course, that would require overcoming all sorts of stereotypes about teen moms and their futures, but I don't think the school sounds like the best environment to a mom who is committed to breastfeeding.

But really, I can't believe the administration won't give her those 10 mins. I bet she could arrange with the teacher to get any assignments given out at at that time. I can't imagine that it would seriously impact her learning.

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#10 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 03:45 AM
 
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that sucks. maybe local chapter of LLL could help educating the admins? she needs some advocacy happening, whether it's family or outside help...

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#11 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 06:05 AM
 
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I understand the admins position on this. But they also need to take the time to help this young mama work out a solution. Does she have someone to go to bat for her in working out a compromise? The school nurse would be the perfect person. Of course her "class time" must be respected, but between the administration, the teacher of the class in question, hopefully an involved parent, and the school nurse SOMEBODY should be able to come up with an answer!

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#12 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 09:40 AM
 
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I get this question a lot since there are no state laws creating a protected right to breastfeed in schools (public breastfeeding laws generally cover mothers who are otherwise authorized to be there because they are picking up older children or attending meetings or performances). There is, of course, no reason why she should not be allowed to leave a class 10 minutes early here or there to breastfeed her baby.

The approach I usually recommend (and I am usually addressing teens who want to pump in the nurses office - it is great that this school has on-site day care) is to have the teen get a note from her doctor stating that breastfeeding/pumping at these intervals is a medical need preventing engorgement leading to mastitis or other breast infection. In this case, one could also get a note from the child's doctor stating the frequency at which the child needs to feed making the break a medical necessity.

There is no educational justification for preventing her rearrangement of her schedule. Like most situations in which it is argued that breastfeeding or pumping can not be accommodated, all arguments are based on the convenience to the institution or general annoyance that the caretaking of a child is interfering with the status quo. In this situation, I see the desire to punish her for having been sexual and having had a child as a teenager. Moral judgments shouldn't determine how anyone is allowed to feed her child.

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#13 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 09:56 AM
 
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As someone that's not too far out of high school I'm not shocked. In my HS there were NO study hall periods (we didn't even have early release for seniors) and by my senior year we weren't supposed to leave even to use the bathroom....

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The approach I usually recommend (and I am usually addressing teens who want to pump in the nurses office - it is great that this school has on-site day care) is to have the teen get a note from her doctor stating that breastfeeding/pumping at these intervals is a medical need preventing engorgement leading to mastitis or other breast infection. In this case, one could also get a note from the child's doctor stating the frequency at which the child needs to feed making the break a medical necessity.

There is no educational justification for preventing her rearrangement of her schedule. Like most situations in which it is argued that breastfeeding or pumping can not be accommodated, all arguments are based on the convenience to the institution or general annoyance that the caretaking of a child is interfering with the status quo. In this situation, I see the desire to punish her for having been sexual and having had a child as a teenager. Moral judgments shouldn't determine how anyone is allowed to feed her child.
I agree with the idea of getting a doctor's note. Besides, she isn't asking to leave every class or something...one class, 10 mins early? Unless it's AP Statistics or something she's probably going to be fine. Most of the classes I took in high school at that age were useless anyway.

Bolding: I think that's exactly what it is and I'm disgusted. That's NOT fair. Why are we making the child suffer because mom made a mistake? Ugh. Has anyone printed off the benefits of breastfeeding for admin? Maybe they don't know that she's trying to make the best after a bad decision? (I don't mean to make it sound like the baby is a mistake...I've been so paranoid that what I say comes across wrong lately)

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#14 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 09:58 AM
 
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The approach I usually recommend (and I am usually addressing teens who want to pump in the nurses office - it is great that this school has on-site day care) is to have the teen get a note from her doctor stating that breastfeeding/pumping at these intervals is a medical need preventing engorgement leading to mastitis or other breast infection. In this case, one could also get a note from the child's doctor stating the frequency at which the child needs to feed making the break a medical necessity.
:
I love this advice.

I hope it works out for both mother's and baby's sake.
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#15 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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After thinking about this, I really can understand that many students alter their schedules for many reasons, newspaper, athletics, music, etc.

I think it would save her time to just let her nurse the baby. By the time she pumps, she may have been able to nurse the babe and get back to class. Maybe if she pumped at home a little, some of the feedings could be EBM and some she could do her self.

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#16 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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She should contact njbreastfeeding.org. It is the state's breastfeeding task force and they take on advocacy and issues like that. I work for WIC and many of our clients, especially those who are young, get so little support and so much discouragement for breastfeeding from their schools, family, doctors, etc. Here is a young mom who wants to breastfeed and she needs support!

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#17 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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Can she not wait the 10 minutes and go to nurse the child then? Is this a "schedualed" feed? If so can it not be moved 10 minutes? (my opinion here..) 10 minutes doesn't seem like a big deal to me, an hour, or even half an hour maybe, but 10 minutes? her body will ajust to that and engorgment will not be an issue.

I mean if she wants to nurse thats wonderful, and if the child is crying because they're hungry she should of course be allowed to leave and feed her when need be, but if she is simply wanting to leave 10min early for that class everyday so she can feed the baby and then go eat lunch, well she needs to eat and feed the baby at the same time, like other mothers do.

She did have this baby at 14, and at 14 there are some things that are going to be expected of her. Like going to school. She, like other moms who have to work or go to school, is going to have some restrictions on when she can nurse simply because of being in the situation she is in.

Also how old is this baby? that could make a differnce too, I mean a baby under 6-8 weeks I could see being more of an issue while milk supply is established, but after that waiting that 10 minutes isn't going to be detrimental to her milk supply.

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#18 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 11:02 AM
 
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As someone that's not too far out of high school I'm not shocked. In my HS there were NO study hall periods (we didn't even have early release for seniors) and by my senior year we weren't supposed to leave even to use the bathroom....



I agree with the idea of getting a doctor's note. Besides, she isn't asking to leave every class or something...one class, 10 mins early? Unless it's AP Statistics or something she's probably going to be fine. Most of the classes I took in high school at that age were useless anyway.

Bolding: I think that's exactly what it is and I'm disgusted. That's NOT fair. Why are we making the child suffer because mom made a mistake? Ugh. Has anyone printed off the benefits of breastfeeding for admin? Maybe they don't know that she's trying to make the best after a bad decision? (I don't mean to make it sound like the baby is a mistake...I've been so paranoid that what I say comes across wrong lately)
Yeah I am a long time out of high school. In my day, one spent way more time than that smoking in the girls' room. Certainly preventing a baby from being breastfed would be leaving a child behind, no?

I do find it disturbing that anyone would consider the age of the mother or how the child came to be. Very much not our business, in my view. Even to say she made a mistake is a judgment I wouldn't make. She is a mother who wants to breastfeed her child and that is all.

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#19 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 11:14 AM
 
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I'm wondering if she has looked into alternative education plans, like homeschooling through something like the K12 program or having her parents help her design her own education program that is flexible enough for her in this situation.

Aside from that, I agree about getting the doctors note. It is quite possible that the admin really has no understanding of how bf'ing works.

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#20 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 11:23 AM
 
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i had my first DS at 16.
i nursed, despite everyone telling me i couldnt or shouldnt.
they would not let me pump, anywhere. let alone leave class.
it sucks, but for some reason people think 10 minutes of "education" trumps a lifetime of benefis from breastmilk.

in hindsight, i would have homeschooled myself after DS was born, or dropped out and gotten my GED.

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#21 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 11:24 AM
 
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I agree about looking into alternative education plans. When I was in highschool, we had a program called independent study where a teacher was assigned to come to a student's home and educate them there. I did this my senior year because I was severely depressed. I believe I met with a teacher once a week and she gave me all my work then. My mom filled out the appropiate application and then all I needed was a note from my psychologist. But from my understanding, the program was used a lot for pregnant teens and moms.

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#22 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 12:41 PM
 
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I disagree that leaving early is that big of a deal really (and I'm a highschool teacher!). Her teacher could easily work with her if he/she were willing. People leave classes early all the time for worse reasons (*cough Athletics cough*).
Exactly. By the time I got to the last 10 minutes of class, we weren't getting any new material. I had TONS of students leave at least once a week half an hour early (or more sometimes) for games or meets. How is it any more appropriate for that than a nursing mother? I worked around my teaching schedule and pumped during my planning, but students don't get planning, so some sort of accommodation should be made for her. I would get a guidance counselor involved...usually they have the best interest of the student when some other admins don't. We had a special drop out prevention counselor, and I think she would be appropriate to this situation.
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#23 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 01:21 PM
 
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I disagree that leaving early is that big of a deal really (and I'm a highschool teacher!). Her teacher could easily work with her if he/she were willing. People leave classes early all the time for worse reasons (*cough Athletics cough*).
This is what I was going to say! I was reading these posts thinking that everyone elses high school experiences must have been very different from mine. And YES, athletics gets you out of class early any day of the week
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#24 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 02:25 PM
 
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As far as I understand it, they're not saying she can't BF, they're saying she can't leave class 10 min early everyday to do it. Thats not the same to me.

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#25 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 02:40 PM
 
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wait, she wants to leave her class that happens before lunch to go feed? why? is she's worried about not getting her lunch time for herself.... she's going to discover nurslings leave very little personal time.

and breastfeeding support and assuming you get a free pass out of your obligations are different things.

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#26 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 02:54 PM
 
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about the 10 mins thing...
some of the posters sounded like they thought it was for a scheduling thing, or so the girl could bf and then eat, or something like that. like several other posters, I am also a teacher and my experience is that lunch periods are getting shorter and shorter. my guess (and yes, i know it's just a guess, but still...) is that by the time the girl walks from her class to the daycare, stopping to grab food from the cafeteria or locker, finds her child, picks up her child, settles down to nurse, and unwraps her sandwich, her lunch period is finished. she probably thinks the 10 mins will allow her the time she needs to get there and back.
i mean, think about it- the baby is probably nursing for at least 20 mins, right? when my dd was little, every nursing session was at least 30 minutes. it took her a really long time to drink bottles of pumped milk too.
anyway, so 20 mins to nurse, add in the time to greet your child, say goodbye to your child, walk from one side of a building to the other and back again, etc, etc. the daycare center might even be one where she is "encouraged" to change her child's diaper after the feedings. there's no way anyone could do that in the amount of time most schools provide for lunch these days.
like the other teachers who have posted, i agree that other students get to leave class frequently for a variety of other reasons, and that is expected to be ok with the teacher. also, you never introduce new material that late in a period. for the last 10 minutes, students are typically finishing up with independent work (which the girl could complete as extra homework) and you're trying to provide some sort of closure to the lesson to make sure the material stuck.
i also want to say that i agree completely with the pp about the tone of this thread. i am very much against teenage pregnancy. that being said, if a teenager gets pregnant, she needs to be encouraged to make the right decisions for herself and her child. right now, it sounds like this girl is really trying to do a good job. staying in school is what's best for her, and breastfeeding is what's best for her baby. there is no reason why those two goals should be at odds. whether we made better decisions or worse, whether we had it easier or harder, we should always work to support a mother who wants to do what's best for her child.
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#27 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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Did she go straight to admin with this or talk to the teacher first?

I was a pretty laid back teacher, but I never had a problem letting kids go a bit early to preform a specific task so long as I was done with them for the day. (And, of course, I did require proof that they were doing what they said they were doing.)

My advice would be to talk with the teacher. If she already went that route and then moved up the chain to administration (and they then said no), I don't really have any advice except to maybe go to the school board (but my best guess is that they'd back up the admin).

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#28 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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I absolutely support her in breastfeeding her baby and think the school should, too. I don't think 10 min/day every day is a big deal at all, and I think if it's necessary she should be accommodated.

ETA: I agree with lrpurro, in part because I am really sick of seeing stuff here in the Lactivist forum about how ppl can pump in 15 minutes. I'm sorry, but my breasts just don't work that way. Hooray for everyone who can get 6-10 oz or more in 10-15 min, but I need at minimum 20-30 min plus time to set up and put away. Total 25-40 min per session. I can be productive during the actual pumping time, but it just takes that long. And I've got a Medela Pump in Style Advanced and pumped 3-5x/day for 12 months twice (i.e. total 24 months daily pumping). I'm not inexperienced, it's just how my body works.

Just because you can pump quickly, or were able to pump upside down while bungee jumping and doing trigonometry, or someone was hard on you, or your boss wouldn't allow more than 10 min to pump, or you pumped in the bathroom or your car, or you could get your baby breastfed in 10 minutes flat, doesn't mean it's the same for everyone. My first baby was colicky and fussy and difficult to nurse. I stuck it out and she nursed for 19 months. But no nursing session with her happened quickly. My second baby, on the other hand, often nursed quickly, easily and without complaint and would be done in 5-15 minutes. It is just not the same for everyone, or every baby.

Little more support around here sometimes might go a long way.
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#29 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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It makes me wonder how the administration looks at different types of time out of class. The examples given (athletics and the school paper) are things that bring both prestige and money into the school. I would bet they are looking at this girl and seeing her situation as an example to other kids that if they, too, get pregnant they can have special "favors" as well. Having teen parents in your school is definitely not something that brings prestige or financial support.

I'm not suggesting this is right--I think the baby should be fed whenever she's hungry and mom should be allowed to nurse whenever she needs to--but I'm guessing the people in charge are looking at a the reputation/well-being of the school as much more important than one individual student.

Amy loving DH 5/04, raising DD 2/05 and DS 11/09; missing my mom& my babies 6/07, 12/07; and on the side
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#30 of 68 Old 10-10-2009, 03:56 PM
 
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Ideally the nurse at the school would get her in touch with a LLL Leader and hand the new young mum a copy of The Teenage Liberation Handbook and she would see that a year of high school is basically worthless, and a year with her baby is priceless. I can't imagine trying to be a mother in an environment where everyone is treating me as a child with no say over when I go to the toilet or have a snack. It is sad that so many see schooling as an "obligation" akin to supporting one's family etc. In some ways, it is good to have a first child younger while she can be with the baby more often. It is nothing more than a cultural opinion that someone of a certain age "shouldn't" be a mother. Of course my fantasy probably won't happen, she will be treated punitively, people afraid of "rewarding" her for a "mistake" and she will be made to tough it out unnecessarily (which benefits no one at all) and encouraged to leave her baby with "adults" who can bottle feed him/her. I hope this mother gets the support she needs and has someone in her life who can support her leaving school if she wants to.

Michelle: obsessed crafter, Buddhist Yogini, college student, and unschooling mom of two awesome daughters 12 and 6
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