Naptime, feeding time … final exam? For Rebecca Mabrey, 25, of Jacksonville, Florida, that was how her and her 10-month-old baby’s afternoon was going to play out. But she was denied entrance to her final exam at Florida State College for bringing the kiddo along.
Mabrey argued that the exam fell right between her baby’s naptime and feeding time, so she felt that she had no choice but to bring her kid along to breastfeed. (Her husband was unable to watch the kid.) Florida State College did not agree: in an email, they told her children under 16 are not allowed on campus in order to maintain an environment that is conducive to learning. The school also added they were not in violation of Florida’s maternal and infant health care law on breastfeeding because “this is not a prohibition of breastfeeding an infant.” In other words, Mabrey would be allowed to breastfeed her baby during the exam — if only kids were allowed.
That argument sounds mostly reasonable. I certainly wouldn’t tolerate a crying baby in an exam. Still, Mabrey feels that she has been wronged because special accommodations are made for both handicapped students and students with learning disabilities during testing, but not for parents with infant children. She believes that there should have been a separate testing room where she could have brought her child with her to the exam.
She does have a point about students who are balancing parenting and education; it sucks someone would be precluded from taking an exam because he or she cannot find childcare. At least Florida State College now knows they have to fix these conflicting laws.
[Image of a baby wearing a mortarboard via Shutterstock]