The pandemic has caused a lot of changes to people.
From jobs and family balance as well as their educational pursuits. These days, people are required to do just about everything simultaneously as they attempt to handle business while taking care of their children.
Marcella Mares, a mom to a 10-month-old girl, received an email from one of her instructors at Fresno City College in California, requiring all students to turn on their cameras and microphones during class time.
The email request makes sense due to that online classes make it easier for some students to take advantage of ignoring the instructor.
But this request made it difficult for Marcella who sometimes has to breastfeed her baby during class. Everyone who’s ever had a child knows that when a baby’s hungry it needs to be fed, regardless if it’s class time or not.
Marcella asked the professor if she could turn her camera and mic off if she needs to breastfeed during class. The professor’s response was shocking.
“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 professor replied. “Just do that after class.”
According to Marcella, the professor rubbed salt in the wound when the class began that day by telling his students about the email exchange.
“I got this really weird email from a student stating she needed to do inappropriate things during lecture time,” the instructor. “You guys need to understand that you have priorities now and you need to put all those distractions aside or be creative when your child needs you and give your full attention in my class.”
Marcella posted a photo of herself breastfeeding while taking notes on her Facebook account to prove that mothers can do more than one thing at a time.
“I didn’t want to post this picture because I just wanted it for me but I just wanted to show that I CAN focus in class WHILE breastfeeding my child,” she wrote on Facebook.
“It was one thing to send the email telling me what I can and can’t do in my house with my child.But it’s a whole other thing when he announced a “weird” email was received about ‘inappropriate’ things,” Marcella continued.
“I felt so unmotivated during class I was so hurt that an actual human said these things about me & my breastfed baby in public to other students.I was humiliated. ”
Marcella didn’t back down and wasn’t going to stand for the humiliation. She reached out to the school’s Title IX coordinator and told her about the incident. The professor responded with an apology.
“I am sorry for the inconvenience in regard to your intention of breastfeeding your baby,” the professor said. “From now on, you have the right to breastfeed your baby at any given time during class, which includes doing group worksheets, listening to the lecture, and taking the quiz or exam. You may turn off your camera at any given time as needed,” he said in an email to Marcella on September 26.
Fresno City College Public Information Officer Kathy Bonilla later confirmed that Marcella should be able to breastfeed during class due to California law that “requires that schools accommodate students for conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth including lactation.”
Marcella later dropped the class for reasons unrelated to the incident.