Lessons before breast-feeding sessions
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 22:10
Whether it’s a ringing cellphone, a barely audible whisper or someone slowly opening a noisy bag of chips, disruptions in class are anything but welcome. Most disturbances can be chalked up to accidents or forgetfulness. I can’t even get on my high horse about the students whose hunger would be satiated by a few of potato chips. I’ve been there. I think we all have been there.
I’ve also been in a plethora of classes with infants and children running around like it’s recess. As a person whose pet peeves include repetitive noises, I can’t stand when little children, or creatures as I call them, bang on desks with their fists, crayons or anything for that matter.
After watching a broadcast of CNN Newsroom that addressed this issue, I think I may make an effort to become more tolerant in these cases. Because at least the children I saw in class were coloring and not being breast-fed. Such was the topic of controversy for Professor Adrienne Pine of American University, who breast-fed her ill baby during a lecture. Not to mention, the incident happened to occur on the first day of class for the feminist anthropology students.
According to the professor, her baby was ill, and she couldn’t secure backup child care. Once class started, Pine explained the situation to the class and proceeded to lecture. When the baby became fussy, she chose to feed her baby in front of the class instead of leaving the room.
Afterward, Pine declined to comment about the incident to a student journalist because she was shocked that her breast-feeding would be considered newsworthy. Instead, she posted an essay online explaining her actions and reaction to the sparked debate. She claimed that because of the circumstances and the fact that she was careful to not expose herself to the class, she did nothing wrong.
I may not have a child or anything that requires a similar amount of attention and responsibility, but I’ve seen people that do and make it work. That’s not to say that I don’t have empathy for busy parents who have no other option but to bring their children to class. But, regardless of sensitivity related to parenting, a disruption is a disruption.
And breast-feeding is breast-feeding. Just because it’s 2012 and society has become less conservative doesn’t give you the green light to open up shop for a group of students in the middle of a lecture. True, breast-feeding is natural. Some would argue, however, that it is also inappropriate to do when your presence demands attention. I’d also argue that college students who pay a lot of money to attend classes should be able to expect professors to maintain a relatively high standard of professionalism.
Which includes keeping your blouse buttoned.