Jones Center Apologizes After Telling Breastfeeding Mother To Cover Up

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SPRINGDALE (KFSM)- The Jones Center in Springdale apologized Wednesday (Dec. 17) after a Fayetteville mother said one of their employees told her to cover herself up while she was breastfeeding in the pool area.

Crystal Parson said she was at the Jones Center on Sunday (Dec. 14) for her son's birthday when her baby got hungry, so she breastfed him while sitting at the edge of the pool with her feet in the water.

"I was approached by a lifeguard," Parson said. "He walked around the pool where I was sitting, and asked me if I wanted a towel. I calmly explained to him, by law, I don't have to do that."

Parson also said the employee told her. her breast milk was a biohazard and shouldn't be near the pool.

In 2007, Arkansas passed Act 680 to protect the rights of breastfeeding mothers. The law states a woman can breastfeed a child in a public place or any place where other individuals are present. The law also protects women from prosecution for indecent exposure.

In a letter to Parson, the Jones Center acknowledged the employee was in the wrong and the center didn't intend to offend Parson.

"At no time were we wanting to kick her out or wanting to make her feel unwelcome," said Paige Ray, a spokeswoman for the Jones Center.

The letter stated staff at the Jones Center was "uninformed of the law and made a mistake in both the handling of the situation and of the perception that breast milk is a biohazard. We realize this was an embarrassing incident for you and your family and take responsibility for our part in it."

Ray said the community center will make state laws about breastfeeding clearer to their employees.

"We are a family-friendly facility that is totally comfortable with breastfeeding mothers," Ray said.

In the letter, the Jones Center stated it has now established an official policy that supports breastfeeding and "while the staff involved in the original incident has since been made aware of this policy, we plan to go forward with training our current and future staff of this policy as well."

To read the full letter, click here.

Parson said she appreciates the center's apology and the changes it plans to make to protect breastfeeding mothers.

"It's a step in the right direction," she said. "People need to be aware. They need to be educated, we need to be accepting of this. It's a normal, natural thing."

The Jones Center also promised to post signs inside the building stating it supports breastfeeding.

41 comments

  • Harold

    What is up with all of the women these days exposing their breast during baby feeding?
    Do they need to see if someone is watching them to feel sexy? Cover up! We men know what Breast look like!

    • Panamai

      Um, there is nothing sexy about feeding your baby, Harold. Breastfeeding in public has always been accepted in our society until the recent sexualisation of breasts by the media. Breasts have one function, feeding our children. If you don’t like it, put a blanket over your head.

      • Herbert

        That’s right star. nursing uncovered in public!!! You go girl. I have a whole freezer full of Popsicles down in my cellar. You should come over and have one !!!! Mmmmm…..Mmmmmm.

    • Soybean that

      This woman posted this “act of oppression” on Facebook to try and rile up a bunch of other non-working mothers so she could get 15 minutes of fame and validate her victim identity complex. Truth is, she was sitting outside of the pool breastfeeding with no one saying anything. Then she took the initiative to walk into the pool and sit on the steps to do it. Apparently she wasn’t getting enough attention to start a conflict that she could then turn into another example about how breastfeeding mothers are being oppressed. These people think the world revolves around them and don’t have any respect for social norms or their fellow citizens. Most of these women so actively involved in the breastfeeding community don’t work, are single mothers, and spend 90% of their time on Facebook complaining about anyone daring to question them breastfeeding in the middle of a crowded room,and calling it advocacy.

  • Fibromyalgia Girl 69 Disability

    Breast feeding is the mark of the beast. Obama has put prions in the wal mart solo health stations. If you use the Wal Mart solo health station, it will inject you with an RFID chip and the prions will release into your body and cross over into the baby and make the baby support Obama. Don’t walk near, or use the solo health station. Just go to YouTube and search “wal mart solo health mark of the beast”, you will be shocked.
    This is so sad. I hope this baby didn’t take the mark of the beast. Please people stay away from anything that is connected to the ” Obama Care”, it is the beast and the rapture is upon us. We are in the last moments.

  • Ishmail Dentor

    For crying out loud!! Is it so hard for you to accept the towel and shut your mouth? What is wrong with having a little decency? I would suggest that any woman that demands to expose her breast and demand that the general public watch her breast feed is just hoping some man will see or hoping someone will give her an excuse to get her 15 min of fame.

    • Fibromyalgia Girl 69 Disability

      She has taken the mark of the beast. Obama has gotten into her and she is of the beast now. She clearly used the Wal-Mart solo health station. This is so sad, maybe the child will be saved in the rapture or a republican will win the white house, a southern Baptists, which will appease God to bless the USA again. God wants you to be Happy and if you are a good Christian, he will reward you will a big house and a new car. God has blessed, but revoked his blessing upon our land due to Obama care.

    • rondadarlene

      Actually that isn’t true. Any woman who doesn’t cover is usually doing so because some babies don’t like to be covered up. It isn’t about 15 minutes of fame. It’s about feeding a child in a way that both mom and baby are comfortable. Most importantly telling a breastfeeding mom to leave or cover up is illegal.

      • nori

        1. If a mother stayed home the whole time while breastfeeding we would never leave the house. Babies feed not only because they are hungry. Educate yourself before saying anything
        2. Yes, its so much fun eating under a blanket. You should try it. Oh and make sure you sit right up against a warm body. Even more on a hot day. Again, educate yourself.

  • fnelson5412

    The only difference between a human mother breastfeeding her child and a cow feeding her calf is that society has sexualized women’s breasts and not a cows. If breasts weren’t made to feed babies then they wouldn’t produce milk.

    And FYI i guarantee breastfeeding mother show a heck of a lot less skin then most the women at the pool were showing. So if you want to spout off about indecency, kindly ask every woman in a bikini if they would like a towel to cover up.

  • Yearight

    Stay in fayetteville if you want to do that in an open area. Stay out of normal places. Or take the towel which was politely offered and COVER UP and REMOVE yourself from the area

  • rondadarlene

    Happy they’re getting with the program that breastfeeding is natural and not sexual. A woman shouldn’t have to cover if she doesn’t want to or if the baby doesn’t want to which is most often the reason why a woman doesn’t cover. Not to mentioned that she was in a bathing suit at a pool. I guarantee there were bathing suits showing more skin than a breastfeeding mom does.

  • Common Sense Please

    Whatever happened to modesty? No one should have a problem with a nursing mother, however common sense says not to put yourself on display. There is nothing wrong with using discretion.

  • I know it

    I’m sure that all the men opposed to women breastfeeding will not venture into such places as twin peaks, r rated movies, and strip joints.
    It is only uncomfortable to most men because they are uneasy with something like this being a benefit to a baby and not being exposed for their benefit.

    • Common Sense Please

      Many, I dare say most, men and women support the common sense of discretion and modesty. That is not anti-public breastfeeding, anti-baby, anti-natural, or any other “anti”.

  • Stop it!

    When I nursed my son in public 35 years ago, I simply threw a small receiving blanket over my shoulder to lightly cover up. I never once had anyone get offended. While I see absolutely nothing wrong with the natural process of feeding a baby, I wonder why nursing mothers can’t take the feelings of those around them in public into consideration. We have become such a selfish, inconsiderate society. Why make it into an issue for debate? Why not simply cover up for those who think and feel differently. Using the restroom is a very natural process, everybody poops, so why don’t we just start squatting in public?

    • CAM

      Exactly! A few years back while shopping at Walmart in the baby department, a women with a toddler in her arms came up to my wife and I and struck up a conversation. Not a minute into this chat, she claimed her child must be hungry and flopped her breast out right in front of us to feed him. We felt terribly uncomfortable with the situation, and the fact the child was 2 or 3 years old didn’t help. To this day, we feel we were “targeted” for this mother’s little show. Now I hear she could do this legally? I’m sorry, but infringing on my rights to satisfy her right is BS.

      • Bri

        You do not have a protected right that says a woman has to cover herself while breastfeeding in front of you. Quite the contrary.

    • Bri

      Not every baby will stay covered. Breastfeeding in public used to be the norm, being exposed to it will help us go back to that norm. People are so selfish that they really think that public breastfeeding is about the adults. It is a child eating and you want a child to eat based on your own sick and twisted thoughts. A woman who manages to cover is great, a woman who is not able to cover is just as great. To expect a young child to be pressed up against someone sharing body heat in hot weather or any high temperature environment (eighty plus) is ignorant. A young child cannot handle exposure to such situations the way an adult can.

    • jamie

      I use common sense. I breast feed uncovered because my baby refuses to be covered. Just like I’m sure you don’t want your face covered when you eat!! Seriously adults grow up, it’s feeding a baby! Is it too much to ask for you to cover your face when eating?

  • monica

    The comments on here are awful..uncovered or not…babies have the right to be breastfed wherever and whenever…get over yourselves or remove yourselves..nobody’s got the problem except you

    • jamie

      Agreed! I’m sick of people complaining about breastfeeding showing too much, I see alot more from the way some. women dress on a daily basis, than I ever gave from a mother feeding her baby with what God gave her!!

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