Supporters rally around breast-feeding Logan mom who was told to cover up

Published: Thursday, July 17 2014 6:50 p.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, July 18 2014 10:14 a.m. MDT

Andrea Scannel is appalled that she received a letter from the school principal at Mount Logan Middle School Wednesday, asking her to be discreet when breastfeeding her baby. Thursday, in show of support, a group of mothers came to the school to breastfeed their babies.

Michael Anderson, Deseret News

LOGAN — A group of breast-feeding moms in Logan is taking a stand after one of them was asked to cover up at a public school by the principal.

"I was shocked. I was a little shaken. I didn't expect to be approached ever,” Andrea Scannell said. “No one had shown any indication ever that they were uncomfortable.”

Scannell brought her family in for the free summer lunch program at Mt. Logan Middle School Wednesday. She was breast-feeding her baby when someone gave her a letter on official school letterhead, signed by the principal, citing concerns about exposure during her breast-feeding from other patrons.

“Someone approached her and gave her a letter and walked away as fast as she could, basically," said her husband Dan Scannell. “It was the letter that was formal, saying, ‘Please don’t do this, cover up,’ or ‘go somewhere else.’ She was fuming.”

The letter signed by Principal Michael Monson states in part: “While I understand the importance of a baby being breast-fed, I would hope you would also use discretion in exposure, while the baby is fed.”

"It's my breasts,” she said. “It's my baby. It's in the law. I'm protected by the law. This is not crude or inappropriate."

So to make a stand, several moms came to the school Thursday and breast-fed their babies while others were eating their school lunches.

"I know some moms that don't want to leave the house, some moms that will just sit in a sweltering hot car because they're just so afraid of being approached like that,” Jennifer Henson said. "I just wanted her to know that there are other people that supported her in her decision."

Dan Scannell said he wouldn’t want to be in the principal’s shoes.

"I appreciate what he's going through, but I think he should have stood up for her; the fact that the law protects women for doing this,” he said. "It's just disappointing. It's frustrating. I don't think he's a horrible person. I don't think the school is horrible, but I think that there is misguidance here."

Logan School District Superintendent Marshal Garrett said that a few weeks ago some patrons had concerns about the excessive exposure that occurred while a mother was breast-feeding.

“It was brought to the attention of the principal who felt that, at least, an initial dialogue with the individual mother would probably be good,” Garrett said.

He added that breast-feeding is fine, but the district needs to find “a balance between an individual’s rights, which she has that right, and the ability to have others feel comfortable around her.”

He said the district doesn’t currently feel that it needs to take any more action.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

Email: manderson@deseretnews.com

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