May 17, 2019
A mother has decided to sue Jeffersontown Elementary School after school staff interfered with her legal right to breastfeed her young daughter.
Myranda Juarez is the mother of four children, two of whom are elementary students at Jeffersontown Elementary. She is also a member of the Site Based Decision Making committee (SBDM) of the school.
Juarez was volunteering for the day of photos in the school gym during the month of March and took her daughter, Natalie. The mother says that at lunchtime there was little work left to be done and her little daughter was getting bad-tempered.
“I thought it was a good opportunity since we wouldn’t be very busy and there were students leaving to just go ahead and take that time to just sit where we were,” said Juarez.
Although the mother tried to keep most of the skin covered while breastfeeding her infant, counselor Heather McGovern approached her and offered her to use the office to nurse little Natalie.
“I just simply don’t have to be moved,” said Juarez. “I didn’t prefer to be moved. I didn’t feel like I was making a disruption. I didn’t have anybody coming up to me and saying anything further and the volunteers and teachers I spoke with said they didn’t know I was doing anything more than holding her and on a phone call.”
Juarez was comfortable in the place she was and refused to go to a private place to feed her baby, but McGovern told her that if she was going to nurse her daughter inside the school, she had to do it in the private office and not in the gym.
“It caught me off guard,” said Juarez. “I tried to retain my composure.”
According to Juarez, the counselor excused herself by saying that her presence while breastfeeding little Natalie could make the students feel uncomfortable.
“I would never want to put anyone in that kind of position, it was never my intent,” said Juarez. “My intent was just to calm my child and put her to sleep.”
A few days later, Juarez met with Principal Brooke Schilling and it was when she realized that McGovern was not responsible for such a decision and that the counselor was following the instructions of the principal who only allowed mothers to breastfeed in the private office.
Juarez continues to be against such a rigid and insensitive rule and says that because of that she has not been able to continue carrying out the voluntary tasks she used to do and she has missed important school events with her children.
The situation reached a limit where the mother has decided to take legal action. Juarez hired attorney Ted Gordon, who filed a lawsuit seeking damages and sensitivity training for all employees of the Jefferson County Public Schools.
Kentucky The Revised Statute 211.755 prohibits anyone from interfering with a mother who is breastfeeding her child anywhere while the mother is authorized to be there.
In Arizona, Theresa Phillips is organizing a nurse-in to protest her daughter’s elementary school for stopping her from breastfeeding her newborn son during a visit.
This reminds us of a woman’s ingenious response when she was told by a stranger to cover up while breastfeeding her baby, it was so hilarious that it quickly went viral.