College Student Says That Her Professor Asked Her Not to Breastfeed During Online Classes

The pandemic certainly has many negative aspects. These are obvious like concerns about health and safety and the resulting changes that have happened in our world with the goal to help us stay healthy and safe. These changes include things like not having parties and going to school online instead of in-person.

Although there are many negatives, there are a few positives, like increased family time and the ability to multi-task if you’re going to school or work online. For example, it’s possible to help your kids with their school work on your lunch break from work without even getting out of your pjs. Just us?

If your children are still babies, going to school online or working from home means that you don’t need to hire a babysitter or find a daycare provider. Your children can stay home with you while you get your work done.

We’re not saying that multi-tasking is always easy, but there are some rock star parents out there who are rocking this whole work life balance thing. At least they’re rocking it until a well-meaning but misinformed professor gets in the way.

Marcella Mares has a 10-month old baby girl. Due to the pandemic, she is also attending Fresno City College online. In theory, she would be able to take care of her daughter’s needs while attending class.

On September 23rd, she received an email from her professor explaining a new requirement for class. In order to be counted for attendance, students needed to keep their cameras and microphones on at all times.

Mares wrote back to her professor explaining that she was fine with the new policy for the most part but she may need to turn her camera and microphone off sometimes so that she could breastfeed her baby.

Mares was surprised when her professor wrote back saying “that’s not what you should be doing during class. Do that on your own time.” She was humiliated when he addressed her email during the next class, telling the whole class that he got “a really weird email from a student stating she needed to do inappropriate things during lecture time.”

Mares contacted Lorraine Smith, the school’s Title IX coordinator, which resulted in the professor emailing Mares an apology and telling her that it is perfectly find if she breastfeeds during class.

Fresno City College’s Public Information Officer, Kathy Bonilla, told CNN, “California law requires that schools accommodate students for conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth including lactation.” She added that the professor was not aware of this state requirement.

In a Facebook post that Mares wrote about her experience, she said, “Breastfeeding mamas &any mama that is trying to juggle school, work, & a child should be praised not put down & humiliated. I love my baby & would choose her health over anything or anyone, any day of any week!”