POYEN, Ark. – An Arkansas teacher is drawing complaints for bringing her infant to class and breastfeeding the baby while students are studying.
Students allege a teacher Poyen High School has brought her infant to class on and off for a couple of weeks after returning from maternity leave, and breastfeeds the baby in the back of the classroom.
News reports on the situation do not identify the teacher, but some students allege the baby has been a distraction. Others contend the child quietly plays with its toys and is no problem at all, KY3 News reports.
“I don’t think it’s a problem. I mean, the baby just lays back there and plays with its toys,” student Tyler Rhodes told Fox. “I mean, every now and then it may cry, but she just goes back there and takes care of it.”
“It’s a cute baby. It doesn’t distract me at all,” Chase Rhodes said.
Others in the class disagree.
“It’s a distraction, especially since we have a bunch of teenage boys in there,” said another student, who declined to be identified.
Superintendent Jerry Newton told KY3 News that teachers are allowed to bring their children to class in emergency situations, but declined to comment on the specifics of the teacher’s situation because it’s a personnel issue. Newton encouraged students or parents with concerns to contact him directly.
Fox contacted other school districts in the area to inquire about school policies regarding breastfeeding teachers and learned Little Rock schools and others in the area prohibit teachers from bringing their child to class.
One of the students in Poyen snapped a picture of the breastfeeding teacher and posted the image to Facebook, prompting a lively online discussion about the appropriateness of bringing the child to class and breast feeding in public.
“Honestly I don’t see why breastfeeding there would be a separate issue in any way, seeing how Arkansas law allows her to breastfeed anywhere she’s allowed to be. What’s the worst that can happen, your teenagers learn what breasts were truly made for in a completely innocent manner?” Stephanie Maldonado posted to Facebook.
Dorothy Beck Huddleston believes it’s not the breastfeeding that’s the issue.
“Breast feeding is natural and wonderful,” she posted. “The bigger picture here is that she is being paid to teach not care for her own child. I know several teachers who pump and send their milk to daycare!”
Denise Perez Whitfield thought the teacher’s actions were “inappropriate” and she “should stay home to take care of her child or hire a sitter.”
Amy Robbins agreed.
“Our children have a hard enough time learning without this unnecessary distraction,” she wrote. “ … It shouldn’t be in a damned school just like (public displays of affection) … period.”