ACLU SoCal, BreastfeedLA and the California Women’s Law Center released a Report Card on the state of lactation accommodation policies in Los Angeles County school districts as a baseline assessment of breastfeeding policy support for women in education – both employees and students.
Breastfeeding is recommended by every major health organization. School districts must provide both employees and parenting students with accommodations that allow them to continue breastfeeding after the birth of their babies.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law, AB 302 (2015), which makes crystal clear the duties schools owe to lactating students and districts now must make sure they are in compliance with this new law. Districts also need to have clear complaint processes and point people to handle lactation-related problems and complaints.
LEGAL RESOURCE: Find federal and California laws on lactation accommodation (.pdf)
Despite these clear legal obligations, our organizations have received many complaints and questions from parenting employees and students in school districts throughout Los Angeles County who don’t know their lactation rights, have faced difficulties when they need to pump milk on the job or during the school day and don’t know who to turn to within the school community for help. Concerned about this stream of complaints, BreastfeedLA did a simple study to determine how many L.A. County school districts have clear and accessible lactation policies and Title IX Coordinators. We then translated what we found into a report card.
Here is what we found:
- Overall the County gets a D. Only one school district got an A and the vast majority (68 of 81) got a score of C or worse. Many (21 of 81) got an F or F-.
- Only 33 percent of school districts had lactation accommodation policies for employees.
- Only 17 percent had lactation accommodations policies for students.
- Only 23 percent of school districts had an easily identifiable Title IX Coordinator, a designated person districts must have who can ensure compliance with laws that require lactation accommodations and handle lactation-related complaints.
The report card also provides school districts with practical tips and tools for meeting their legal requirements and supporting breastfeeding employees and students, including implementing the new state law signed by Governor Brown on October 9, 2015.