Thuy T. Newborne
November 16, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK-
House Bill ORU-507, “Who Run Da World” Act of 2018, Representative Aleah LaForce of the Oral Roberts Delegation, takes a stance on breastfeeding for females in public schools. This bill requires that schools provide reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding mothers that are students. It also requires that the school designate a private room other than a restroom where a mother can breastfeed or express and store breast milk. It also has a clause that says that they must have a reasonable amount of time to do this. Also, it tried to ensure that there are no academic penalties applied by the school and that the students can make up any missed assignments.
A few issues with the bill that could be brought up, for example; the lack of definitions within the bill just for clarification sake would be appreciated. The other issue that can cause a perplex in the bill is the section of law to codified that reads; “Each public school shall provide reasonable accommodations to a lactating pupil on a school campus to express breast milk, breastfeed an infant child, or address other needs related to breastfeeding…”. This can pose an issue to public schools and especially with the fact that there is no definition to “public school campus.” A “public school campus”can pretty much mean anything at this point since no definition of clarification was provided. It could mean a designated area in a middle school for pre-teens if they have a child (God forbid) at a young age like so, but of course this just in the observation from an outward look of the bill. The next section that poses a different dilemma for public schools in Oklahoma is located in section (A) subsection 4: “Access to a place to store expressed breast milk safely.” According to Todaysparent.com, “The rule of thumb is that untouched breastmilk is safe for your baby if it’s been sitting at room temperature for four hours or less, advises Deborah Campbell, a neonatologist at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, New York”(Cappetta). The duration of storing breast milk can also affect this bill since breast milk contains fat, digestive enzyme activity and anti-infection benefits for the infant. The author did not provide a clear instructed clause that will ensure the safety of breastmilk storing temperature which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recommended temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
The overall idea for the bill is commendable but fact-checking the bill should be the duty of the body before making an executive decision. The burden in public schools in Oklahoma is already too great since they can barely afford a single pencil for its students as it is. The cost-benefit of this bill might be too much of a burden for the Oklahoma Education Department to handle at the moment, but future consideration of the bill is suggested.
Cappetta, Kristina. “Everything You Need to Know about Breastmilk Storage.” Today’s Parent, Today’s Parent, 8 May 2018, www.todaysparent.com/baby/breastfeeding/everything-you-need-to-know-about-breastmilk-storage/.