Law requires lactation room in Virginia schools

Published: Jul. 29, 2014 at 10:20 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2014 at 9:08 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - As of July 1, every Virginia school will now have to provide lactation support rooms for employees and students who breast feed their children.

Sarah Anzelmo-Steele, an 8th grade civics teacher at Lucille Brown Middle School in Richmond, is looking forward to reaping the benefits of having a room to pump breast milk for her newborn daughter.

"Now it's just a matter of waiting to see what my schedule looks like, working my way up to that routine so that I start to adapt to it this summer and build my pumping schedule for the summer around what it will be for the summer," Anzelmo-Steelesaid.

The new policy says that schools across Virginia now have to provide a designated space inside of the school building other than a restroom for teachers and students to privately pump breast milk

That policy also requires lactation breaks be reasonable in length and can continue until the child reaches the age of one.

House Del. Jennifer McClellan says they faced minimal opposition. There was a concern about students being included in the policy but those concerns were dropped.

"We heard stories of teachers who literally had to hide under their desk to pump and the whole time they were afraid that someone would come into the classroom during a break," McClellan said.

Anzelmo-Steele is looking forward to the new school year especially knowing that she will be able to successfully provide for all of her children.

"It's nice to know that I don't have to work or think to hard about whether or not I'm going to be able to provide for my child while I do whatever I can to help provide for 125 other children," she said.

School administrators say if a nursing teacher or student needs lactation support, they need to notify their immediate supervisors so accommodations can be made.

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