A Texas mother says police kicked her out of a swimming pool over the weekend because she was breastfeeding her son there — and now other nursing mothers are rallying around her.
“I’m so hurt, embarrassed and ASHAMED, that this is what TEXAS CITY STANDS FOR,” Misty Daugereaux wrote in a Facebook post about the incident over the weekend. The post has been shared more than a thousand times in less than 24 hours.
Daugereaux said she was at Nessler Park Family Aquatic Center on Sunday in Texas City, which is southeast of Houston near the Gulf coast, when a lifeguard and manager told her that she needed to cover up and couldn’t breast-feed her 10-month-old child Maxx at the public pool.
“She said you need to cover up or leave,” Daugereaux said of the pool’s manager, according to KTRK. “She gave me the ultimatum. And I said, ‘Well, you show me in your policy where I need to cover up and I’ll leave.’ And she was telling me that it was not right, that I needed to cover up. It was their policy. And I said, ‘Well, you can go call whoever you need to call, but I’m not leaving for breastfeeding my son.’”
Daugereaux said on Facebook that a Texas City police officer “showed up and made me leave.” Daugereaux said she left the pool in tears with her baby and two older children — one of whom asked Daugereaux why pool staff wouldn’t let her feed Maxx, according to the Facebook post.
Body camera footage released by the Texas City Police Department on Facebook Monday shows an officer walking up to Daugereaux and hearing her side of the story on June 9, then going to talk to two individuals who appear to be pool employees.
The officer asks the two if they would like the breastfeeding mother to leave. One says the pool is closing soon anyway, while the other says he would like the woman to leave. They said they had received multiple complaints, and ultimately the officer was told to make the woman leave.
“Ma’am, they’re asking that you leave the park,” he tells the woman in the video.
“I don’t understand — I don’t want to make a scene, but I don’t understand why I would have to leave the park if I’m not doing anything against park rules,” she tells him. “This is embarrassing that I can’t feed my baby.”
Daugereaux then walks out of the pool with three kids, video shows.
“We deal with a lot out here,” one pool worker tells the officer after Daugereaux is kicked out.
Police said they blurred the faces of those in the video to protect their identities.
A group of area mothers planned a “nurse-in” at the pool on Monday in solidarity with Daugereaux, according to KHOU. Photos posted on Facebook Monday and tagged at the pool show around a dozen women with babies at the pool Monday, many of them breastfeeding.
“I’ve tried to be as discreet as possible whenever it comes to breastfeeding already. I understand views and people’s opinions,” Daugereaux said, according to KHOU. “But not to the point where you get kicked out of a public space because you decide to feed your child.”
City officials have apologized to the mother and are investigating, local media outlets reported.
“We, the City of Texas City are reviewing the nursing concerns raised at the Nessler Pool and how it was addressed by our staff,” city officials said in a statement released Monday, according to the Houston Chronicle. “We apologize to Misty Daugereaux as it is clear she was offended by how she was treated at our City Facility. City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary. Any deficiencies regarding our employee’s actions will be addressed with further training.”