Judge apologizes after mother told to stop nursing in court

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan judge on Thursday acknowledged that a court official erred when telling a mother she had to leave a courtroom to breastfeed her child.

Ingham County Chief Circuit Judge Janelle Lawless apologized Thursday for the actions by the friend of the court referee, the Lansing State Journal reported (http://on.lsj.com/1IksDQy ).

About 30 women later held a protest by nursing their babies in the court building's lobby in Lansing.

KyLee Dickinson of Potterville had told the newspaper she was told to stop nursing during an April 30 child support hearing and ordered to leave when the baby started fussing.

"I believe he said something to the effect of, 'If you are going to breastfeed, you're going to have to leave,'" Lawless said minutes before Thursday's nurse-in. "We're very sorry that this happened. We're sorry of the effect that this has had on Ms. Dickinson."

A Michigan law passed last year gave women the right to breastfeed in areas open to the public.

The incident with Dickinson involved "poor word choice" and could have been handled differently by the referee, said Shauna Dunnings, the court administrator.

"It is very unfortunate that this isolated incident has projected the impression that we are not breastfeeding-friendly, because that is not the case at all," Dunnings said.


Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com

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