Nursing mom upset with Colorado school’s request to cover up
Author: Associated Press - November 26, 2018 - Updated: November 26, 2018
GRAND JUNCTION — A Grand Junction woman is at odds with school officials after an administrator asked her to cover up while she was nursing her child at an elementary school.
Kelly Johnson said she was breast-feeding her 18-month-old daughter in a hallway at Thunder Mountain Elementary last week, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Friday. She was waiting for one of her other children, who attends private school but was in a speech therapy session at Thunder Mountain.
A staff member asked her to cover herself because students would be finishing classes soon, she said.
Johnson said she was trying to be discreet but the administrator made her feel she was doing something wrong.
“I was very upset by it,” Johnson said. “It felt very shameful, like I was doing something wrong and it shocked me. I’ve breast-fed all over my child’s private school and all over Grand Junction. I know the laws.”
Colorado law allows women to breast-feed in public.
School District 51 spokesman Charles Delano said Johnson was not asked to stop breast-feeding, only to cover up. Delano said the administrator offered to get her a covering.
Delano said the school district “fully supports the rights of mothers to nurse their children.”
Johnson said her children won’t breast-feed if they are covered.
She said she called school officials afterward to explain her concern and was told she could breast-feed in the school nurse’s office.
“Their idea of fixing it was sticking me in a room where sick kids have been all day,” she said.
Johnson said she wants to make people aware that breast-feeding in public is protected by state law.
“This really needs to be a teachable moment for everyone, that whether you support breast-feeding or not, this is the law,” she said.