SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A mother posted a video to social media of an encounter at Kiva Elementary School in Scottsdale Thursday, and it's getting a lot of attention.
The video shows the assistant principal talking with the mom, Theresa Phillips, while she is breastfeeding her infant son on the school's playground.
In the video, the assistant principal asked if he and Phillips could talk in a private place.
The school said there were first-grade students playing right near Phillips.
In a statement, the Scottsdale Unified School District wrote, "At no time did the staff of the school request that the mother discontinue the breastfeeding. She was simply offered an alternative space because they recognized that not all activities are age-appropriate."
Phillips said she didn't even think breastfeeding would be an issue.
The district said school officials weren't concerned as much about the breastfeeding as they were about her filming children and posting the video on social media.
They also said they never asked her to leave the school.
Phillips said she felt she had to draw attention to the issue so other mothers don't feel pressured to stay cooped up inside.
"Exposure is support for new mothers who can't leave the house," she said.
Here is the full statement from Scottsdale Unified School District:
"Thank you for reaching out to gather some additional facts about an incident that occurred on the campus of Kiva Elementary School yesterday, April 4, 2019.
A parent visiting the school began to breastfeed her infant in view of a group of first grade children, ages 6-7, during the recess period. When offered a private space to continue the breastfeeding, the mother became upset and began to video the interaction. The parent did not have permission to film other students and, unfortunately, the parent also posted the video to social media.
While we as adults understand the important connection and health benefits realized for mother and child through this form of nourishment, we also realize some parents may not wish to have their children exposed to breastfeeding and to be filmed by an unknown adult at school without their prior permission. Our main concern during this interaction was to ensure that our students were safe and protected, including their privacy while on campus.
At no time did the staff of the school request that the mother discontinue the breastfeeding. She was simply offered an alternative space because they recognized that not all activities are age-appropriate. Further, the mother was invited to remain on campus and rejoin her child’s class.
Because student privacy is a concern in this video, we would ask members of the media to consider obscuring the identity of any children captured in the video or not use the video."