Three mothers taking part in a protest to support a woman’s right to breastfeed in public say they were harassed by a mall cops as they nursed their children.
The incident took place Saturday at Concord Mall in Wilmington, Delaware. The three mothers were participating in what they described as a “nurse-in” at a Hollister retail store within the mall.
The protest was planned as a show of support for a mother in Texas who has alleged breastfeeding harassment while shopping at a Hollister store in her local mall. She has claimed that a member of Hollister’s management team chastised and yelled at her for breastfeeding her child while sitting on a bench outside of the retail store.
Texas law allows mothers the right to breastfeed their children in public, even when child and breast is exposed.
According to the North Charleston Patch, while Hollister has declined to comment on the Texas case, the incident sparked several planned protests by mothers across the nation on Saturday.
One such show of support came from Diana Hitchens, Autumne Murray, and Jessica Hitchens who participated in Saturday’s protest in Delaware. Breastfeeding laws in Delaware also give mothers the right to feed their young in a public setting.
According to NBC News, the three mothers walked through the Concord Mall Hollister location with signs reading “Hey Hollister, my baby has a right to eat. It’s the law,” and “Normalize breast-feeding in public. Do you eat in public? Why shouldn’t our babies?”
Diana Hitchens, of Elkton, Maryland described the scene:
“We walked through the store and the employees asked if we needed help with anything. We were actually nursing as we were walking through the store.”
Although the group did not receive any push back from Hollister employees, mall security quickly made its way to the protesters. Autumne Murray, also of Elkton, Maryland, said the following:
“Two security guards walked up to us. They started questioning us and asking us why we were exposing ourselves and saying that we needed to leave or cover up. We got in an argument with them about it for a little bit and then they left.”
The mall cops shortly returned with a Delaware State Trooper who routinely patrols the mall. The group was questioned further by the officer, according to Murray:
“He was asking if we were exposing ourselves saying that the security guards said we were exposing ourselves and that we could be kicked out of the mall if we didn’t cover up.”
An article by Jezebel writes that following national attention by parenting blogs across the country, Concord Mall issued the following statement:
“The contract security officer involved in this unfortunate incident was immediately removed from the Concord Mall. The Delaware State Police were not called because a woman was breastfeeding their child. The State Police patrol the mall as a usual patrol and came up on the security officer and the women arguing. The trooper intervened and the security officer was removed and sent home pending further action.”
What do you think of the mall cops who allegedly harassed the three mothers for breastfeeding their children in public?