This one hits close to home for me. Austin ISD has a formal district-wide policy that essentially prohibits nursing in public, in direct contradiction with existing state law. I'm so appalled on so many levels. This isn't one business with an employee who's ignorant about the law. This is a unit of local government simply deciding not to follow the law. Austin is a wonderful, progressive, family-friendly city, and I've never once in three years of nursing here ever received anything other than support. We're better than this.
The basic plotline is that a mother of an elementary school student was told she couldn't nurse her baby on the school campus unless she went to a private room. That was about a month and a half ago. She's actually working with the group that was instrumental in getting the NIP law passed back in the 90s, and they had a long meeting with the school board, but this still isn't resolved. I hope you'll all consider signing the petition and contacting the AISD board of trustees to let them know that they need to comply with state law.
Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/KeepAustinNIP
Contact info for Austin ISD school board trustees: http://archive.austinisd.org/inside/board/members.phtml
From the mother's blog:
"Waiting for my son in the lobby of our neighborhood elementary school in Austin Independent School District, I was discretely nursing my baby when I was told to go to a private conference room. But I know that my right to breastfeed in public is protected by Texas law.
Sec. 165.002. RIGHT TO BREAST-FEED. A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.
I discovered that the district did not have a written policy, only a longstanding practice of doing what was done to me. Why is this a problem? Because simply asking a nursing mother to breastfeed privately implies that she is doing something wrong by breastfeeding publicly.
I wrote to my principal, then met with her. She maintained her position that nursing in the lobby is "inappropriate." Dissatisfied for myself and not wanting anyone else put in this position, I wrote to the district's superintendent's office, legal department, and board members, urging them to adopt a written policy upholding the law that protects a woman's right to nurture her child.
After five weeks of waiting, I received the "new" policy - a formalized and more rigid version of the old practice of sending nursing mothers to feed their children privately, as though feeding a baby is a shameful thing."
Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.