American University professor Adrienne Pine sparked a frenzy when she took her baby to class and breastfed her while delivering a lecture to a group of 40 students. The school has issued statements expressing disapproval of the professor's actions, but other women and parents are standing up for the mother who wanted to take care of her sick daughter.
Pine brought her little girl to the classroom, which caused a bit of chaos as she crawled on the floor, according to reports. An assistant was able to help watch the child, and even held and rocked her, though Pine insisted she was capable of handling things on her own.
Eventually the child grew hungry, and Pine did what any mother would do: she fed her baby. It was a unique situation, though, in that Pine did it in front of a classroom of students while continuing to deliver her prepared lecture. Now students have complained, the university has issued some statements of disapproval, and women are taking up Pine's cause for women's rights.
At first, officials at American University stated that parents should use their given sick days- or at least private areas on campus- for taking care of children so they "can maintain a focus on professional responsibilities in the classroom."
Then they added a rejoinder to that statement in order to appease people upset with their opinion.
"Every working parent can empathize with facing the choice of an important day at work when a child gets sick. Both demand your focus and attention. There is no easy or ideal alternative," the school stated.
For her part, Pine has written that she was "shocked and annoyed that this would be considered newsworthy." But that's exactly what has happened, and even beyond that, people are choosing sides in the debate over her actions.
"I've had six kids, all were breastfed for different lengths of time… I am also a college graduate who paid many, MANY dollars to receive my degree. I am not anti breast feeding; I do, however, believe this woman did something unprofessional. She should have just stayed home for crying out loud," argued Washington Post reader Patti.
Yet there are others who applaud Pine's actions.
"Americans must stop discriminating women on grounds of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does not preclude women from participation in public life and work. This kind of barbaric attitude towards women and children is shocking for a developed nation," countered AnnaZ.
Twitter has been inundated with support and criticism of Pine, and several other websites have offered their own commentary on the entire situation. For now, Pine is still employed by the American University, but it remains to be seen what she will do next.