Monday 6 February 2023

Teen Leaves School Because She Was Not Allowed To Nurse Her Baby

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A group of 20 women and their babies protesting in front of the Colegio Superio de Señoritas in San José after a 15 year old student was prohibited from nursing her infant during school hours. Photo, Jorge Castillo / La Nacion

Paula Esquivel y su bebé, Josué Castillo, fueron parte del grupo de 20 personas que protestó frente al Colegio Superior de Señoritas por la supuesta violación al derecho de una alumna a alimentar a su hijo | JORGE CASTILLO

Fifteen year old Leda Maria Sequeira says she was forced to quit school because authorities would allow her to breastfeed her baby during school hours. The grade nine student at the Colegio Superior de Señoritas, an all-girls school in downtown San José, told La Nacion her last day at school was on June 19 and she has not been back.

On Monday, her mother, Maribel Mathiew, participated along with another 20 women in a “mamatón” in front of the school to protest the violation of the rights of her daughter and grandson.

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Valerie Espinoza, organizer of the protest, said “the principal refused and said the girl could, one hour before and one after, classes breastfeed her baby. The law says that it is the mother who chooses when to breastfeed the baby, not the institution. The child is only breastfed, baby formula is very expensive for the family”.

The Ministerio de Educación Pública (MEP) – Ministry of Education – will be investigating the case headed by Rocío Solís, director of student rights.

Solís told the press that her office is evaluating the information provided her. “We are being very careful not to harm the child or the school”, said Solís.

The principal of the, Lisbeth Herrera Prado, has refused to talk to the press. The only word is by way of the school’s Facebook page, where Herrera explains the options given to the student.

“At no time was the young woman denied to nurse her child, provided it was in accordance with the provisions of the school, give the physical limitations of the infrastructure and not to place the child’s health at risk”, says Herrera.  Prinicpal Herrera explained that in the last 11 years, the school has not had any similar problems.

According to Herrera, the school does not meet health conditions for breastfeeding a baby, among other things, the school is located in an area with high air pollution.

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The Colegio Superior de Señoritas is located two blocks south of the Plaza de la Cultura in the hear of San José.

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