SPOKANE, Wash. — A Texas woman said she was kicked out of a city pool for breastfeeding in public. The incident had us wondering if mothers here would be kicked out of a Spokane city pool for doing the same.
Spokane Park Ranger Supervisor Justin Worthington said this would not happen at city pools or parks. That's because breastfeeding in public is protected by Washington state law.
That means, when all Spokane city pools open June 17, breastfeeding mothers will not be kicked out for doing so at the pool or any parks.
"I would like to think that nothing like that would actually happen here," Worthington said. "We train all of our officers specifically to educate people that might complain about breastfeeding mothers about the law and that they're not breaking the law or doing anything wrong."
He's referring to the state's law governing indecent exposure. According to RCW 9A.88.010, "The act of breastfeeding or expressing breast milk is not indecent exposure."
The state's declaration of civil rights takes it a step further.
Breastfeeding is covered under Washington's "Freedom from Discrimination" law. According to RCW 49.60.030, policies cannot be created to prohibit it.
Park rangers and all city aquatic staff receive training about these laws so they are aware breastfeeding is legal.
As a new dad himself, Worthington said all are welcome at Spokane's city parks and pools--even breastfeeding mothers.
"We want to make sure that our parks are an inclusive place," Worthington said. "It's a public forum. You're welcome to do a lot of different things at our parks, including feed your children. So we're happy to allow that. There isn't any specific requirements such as covers."