A California college student says she was told by her professor she could not breastfeed her baby during an online class, prompting an apology from the instructor after she raised concerns to the school.
Marcella Mares, mother to a 10-month-old girl, received an email from her Fresno City College instructor on September 23 about a new class rule requiring students to turn on cameras and microphones during online classes for attendance purposes.
Mares wrote back and said she could leave her camera and microphone on but may turn it off when she needs to breastfeed her daughter.
With the pandemic in the US entering its seventh month, many parents have had to redefine their work-life balance as many workplaces and schools remain virtual. Mares sent the email to her instructor in hopes that it wouldn’t impact her grade, but instead received an unexpected response.
“I am glad to hear that you can have your camera and microphone on, but please do not breastfeed your daughter during class time because it is not what you should be doing,” the instructor replied. “Just do that after class.”
Mares said she was shocked at his response.
“I was upset about it,” she said. “I didn’t like the feeling of him telling me what I can and can’t do with my baby, especially in my own home because school is online right now.”
On the same day, Mares said, the instructor announced during class that he received a “weird” email from a student who wanted to do some “inappropriate” things during class.
This made her even more upset because she said she felt “he publicly outed me in front of the class.”