California Educator

June 2013

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& LETTERS COMMENTS PUMPING TIME IMPACTED SICK LEAVE The article about right-to-pump laws in California (April Educator) arrived just as I was struggling with my working and breast-pumping schedule. I arranged to pump for my four-monthold son to keep up my supply and meet his demand. When my assistant principal scheduled parent meetings during my pumping times, I let human resources know that I was using the accommodation for pumping. When the school schedule changed for state testing, my breaks no longer lined up with my pumping schedule. I was "subbed out," and pump time would have counted against my allotted sick time, which I took for maternity leave. It would have docked my pay because by law, the employer need not compensate for pumping time. I got a signed note from my son's pediatrician for a medical accommodation rather than an accommodation under the right-topump law. Getting the paperwork completed and the stress of the threat of a dock in pay was overwhelming. Because a teacher's schedule is such that the break times change, the law doesn't protect us as well as it does others. In the private sector, I took my morning break when I needed to pump, not when the clock dictated. When assembly schedules, minimum days, block schedules, and the like disrupt the teaching day, they mess with pumping moms' schedules — and we aren't that protected by the law. Angela Wysocki OPINIONS < YOUR OPINIONS AND LETTERS ARE WELCOME. So, too, are your photos of teaching, learning and association activities. There is a 250-word limit on letters and all letters will be edited. Photo identifications and permissions are required. All materials submitted must include your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address. E-mail to BREAST-FEEDING STORY: HOORAY! Thank you for your article (the cover!) dedicated to helping teachers find time and space to pump milk for their own babies after returning to school. I immediately forwarded this article to my playgroup members — we have at least five teachers in the group. They are committed to breast-feeding their babies for the first year of life (recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics) and exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Nearly all the teachers reported not having anywhere to pump, having pain in their breasts from being engorged but not having time to pump adequately, or developing mastitis from not being able to pump enough to empty the breast. High school teachers only had 20 minutes for lunch or a 15-minute break. By the time they walked across long campuses, they were out of time to pump. Many of these women were pumping in their cars on the way to and from work! Most had huge decreases in their milk supply after returning to teaching, and they either were unable to keep breast-feeding or were forced to supplement with formula. Women who teach love their students; they also love their own children and should be able to provide for them by being given their legally protected right to pump breast milk while at school. Thank you for bringing attention to an often ignored issue that affects a large number of female teachers. Christine Corrao Teachers of Encinitas FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHT TO PUMP Thank you for the cover story about lactation accommodation at the workplace. Breast-feeding has been shown to reduce the risk for obesity, infections and various illnesses among children, as well as reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and some cancers for the mother. It benefits businesses and schools by lowering employee turnover rates and absenteeism, lowering health costs, and increasing employee productivity and morale. Accommodating breast-feeding mothers is not only the law, but it makes sense! Businesses want their employees and their families to be healthy, so why the pushback? Ironically, the answer might be education and policy. Business and school administrators are often unaware of the benefits to their employees and how to accommodate them, and they may be unaware of federal and state laws. Equally importantly, employees need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities. In 2011, the San Diego County-based Healthy Works project worked with the California School Boards Association to create a sample lactation accommodation policy (BP 4033 — Lactation Accommodation) for use by school districts and county offices of education throughout the state. The policy is online ( — search for lactation accommodation). Find more at and Anne Kashiwa Healthy Works Workplace Lactation Accommodation Coordinator MILITARY RECRUITMENT Regarding the discussion of military recruiters on school campuses (April): Many California educators, CTA members, are military veterans or reservists. Not so long ago, during the Clinton administration, military vets were encouraged to begin a second career as a public school teacher. Many vets passed the CBEST, pursuing the teaching credential that provided a second career of volunteer service in the classroom. Since then, my peers and I have offered our wide and varied experiences from worldwide service to California students within our various "villages." Where else can a 19- or 20-year-old learn and apply leadership skills, manage high-tech equipment valued in the scores of millions, or learn practical job skills while practicing a service ethic that future employers value highly? Military service is not some sort of cultural safety valve or dumping ground for the deficient; service in the military professions is worthy of honor, deserving the respect of all. Denying young women and men the opportunity, even on the school campus, to make this personal choice is a disservice. Baldwin Park Education Association June/July 2013 Educator 06 June 2013 v2.0.indd 7 7 6/14/13 9:29 PM

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