When Andrea Scannell took her children to have lunch at a Utah middle school's summer lunch program, she never expected breastfeeding her infant there would warrant a complaint letter from the principal.
According to Scannell, a school employee handed her a letter (below) from Mount Logan Middle School principal, Mike Monson, which went viral after her husband uploaded a photo of it to Reddit:
The note took the mother of two completely off guard. "I hadn't seen anyone looking uncomfortable,” Scannell told Utah4.
Apparently, people had "expressed concern" with the exposed breastfeeding. Monson also wrote that while he personally recognizes the beauty of a mother feeding her child, he wouldn't want his child to see it without explaining first. "As such, I would kindly ask you find a way to discretely feed the baby, whether with a small blanket or in a more private area while the lunch program is taking place," the letter read, in part.
“This kind of shaming, this kind of bullying, it prevents other breastfeeding women from going out in public, from feeding their baby,” she told Fox13. Not to mention that women can legally breastfeed in public in all 50 states, Utah included.
Though the school district's superintendent, Marshal Garrett, understands the right of breastfeeding women, he told UTAH4 that he hopes Scannell "would be more sensitive to the needs of others." Principal Monson says he only responded to complaints.
Scannell has gained supporters in real life -- on Friday, she hosted a nurse-in at the school -- but also online. On Facebook, breastfeeding advocate Breastfeeding Mama Talk posted an image of the letter to raise awareness. "I don't care whether you agree with this letter or not as that isn't the point. LEGALLY it is a woman's right to breastfeed however she wants. So the simple fact they wrote a formal letter basically bullying her, to breastfeed in a manner that suits THEIR OWN PERSONAL needs is beyond wrong," she wrote.
Over on Reddit, one commenter summed up the issue with the principal's words perfectly. "I like how the school would prefer a child go hungry over seeing a breast," Droviin wrote.