A woman is up in arms after she was told by law enforcement she'd be forced to leave a Mora pool if she continued to breastfeed.
Stephanie Buchanan and her sister-in-law were enjoying an afternoon at the Mora Aquatic Center Wednesday when their peaceful day of relaxation was interrupted. While Buchanan was breastfeeding her son, a stranger approached her and said that she wasn't allowed to do so.
"I was so shocked, I'd never had anything like that happen before. I didn't even know how to respond and she just stormed off," said Buchanan.
According to Buchanan, a member of the staff came up to her and explained she'd either have to cover up or head to the locker room. After explaining that state law allowed her the right to breastfeed in public, the employee left to go tell management.
The time was nearing for when Buchanan's husband needed to go to work, and so she prepared to take her children home at which point a Kanabec County Sheriff's deputy, now identified by the Kanabec County Times as Sergeant Dylan VanGorden, stopped her.
"I was getting the kids out of the pool and as I'm getting us all dried off a police officer walks up to me, and I was like 'are you kidding me?'" she continued.
Buchanan added that the deputy interjected with, "Well didn't you kind of expect this to happen at a place like this?" She also indicated that while no one was was forcing her to leave, she would be asked to do so by staff if the breastfeeding was not "discreet". Upon the completion of her conversation with the deputy, Buchanan left the premises and went home.
When contacted, a man who identified himself as the manager of the Mora Aquatic Center said, “At this point it is under investigation by the city and at some point the city will put out a press release.” (UPDATE BELOW)
Buchanan, a mother of two, said that the Mora Aquatic Center has lost her business forever. "Minnesota law protects me to feed my baby anywhere."
The City of Mora has released a statement regarding the incident:
"The City of Mora and Mora Aquatic Center (MAC) strive to create an environment comfortable for all. While we always have supported nursing mothers, the situation inside of the kiddy pool made many patrons uncomfortable. Our staff politely asked them to be more discrete or relocate to another area at the MAC. When they did not, it created an untenable situation and our public safety team was brought in to assist the MAC staff. Neither women were asked to leave the facility. We apologize to Ms. Ellingson-Buchanan and Ms. Davis if they were offended by how they were treated. Although we cannot anticipate all possible scenarios, City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary."