Three mothers who were hassled at a mall in Delaware over breast-feeding say they are not satisfied with management’s apology and will not return until the mall shares details about employee sensitivity training.
On Saturday, Autumne Murray, 23, Diana Hitchens, 25, and her sister-in-law Jessica Hitchens, 23, had staged a “nurse-in” at the Concord Mall to educate the public about a woman’s legal right to nurse in public.
They brought signs bringing attention to the retail company, Hollister, in protest of a nursing mother who was reportedly asked to leave a store in Houston.
One of the signs read, “Hey Hollister, my baby has a right to eat. It’s the law.”
The women say they aren’t members of a breast-feeding advocacy group, but they have been in contact with the Breastfeeding Coalition of Delaware, a group of healthcare professionals who aim to increase public awareness of the benefits of breast-feeding babies.
The three women said they had no problems with the Hollister employees at the Concord Mall. But when they left the store, security guards and a state trooper, pictured below, questioned whether they were exposing themselves and were told they would have to leave if they did so.
The Concord Mall issued a statement on Monday, saying it “has never had an issue with any mother breast-feeding her children in the mall and intends to fully comply with the law permitting this activity.”
A spokeswoman for the mall declined to elaborate on the statement.
“Two officers from a security agency that works with the mall responded to the protest in a manner that the protesters have indicated was inappropriate. These two officers have been removed from the Mall pending further investigation.”
“We apologize to our customers and tenants and the protesters for any inconvenience this situation may have caused. The Concord Mall is making every effort to properly train all officers regarding a mother’s right to breast-feed her child.”
Diana Hitchens, mother of three children, said she feels that the apology is “half-hearted.
“They don’t admit to any wrongdoing. They said we felt like we were treated improperly. They don’t admit that we were,” Hitchens said.
Also at issue is what the mall says was a “crude” remark on its “unofficial” Facebook page that it denies posting. In Facebook posts, a user under “Concord Mall” defended the security guards and said the mothers were an “eyesore.”
The mall said it is reporting the violations to Facebook for posts that were not authorized.
The women say they are planning another nurse-in at the mall on Jan. 20 at 3 p.m.
“They said they hope this will not happen again,” Hitchens said. “They didn’t tell us what they are going to do. Our goal is that they implement staff training.”