By Calvin Palmer
A young mother claims she suffered a “humiliating” experience after been thrown of a bus in Manchester, England, for breastfeeding her six-week-old son.
Lauren McKenna, 22, a nursing student, from Beswick, Manchester, said the bus driver remained in his seat, while saying to her that unless she did not stop feeding her son, D’Marion, she would have to get off.
Bus company Stagecoach began an inquiry into the incident which occurred on August 5.
Legislation in the Equality Act, passed by MPs in April, gives mothers the right to feed in any public place.
Stagecoach said that the driver would have been fired if there was any evidence of intimidation.
Mark Threapleton, the firm’s managing director, said: “Rest assured, had any of our drivers spoken to a customer in the manner alleged in this case, they would have faced serious disciplinary consequences.
“However, the on-board CCTV footage does not support the events described by the customer on this occasion and, along with the use of voice-enabled technology, this has demonstrated that the driver was in no way at fault.
“Fortunately we have been able to prevent a situation where a member of staff could potentially have lost their job over allegations which have turned out not to be true.”
But Lauren was adamant that her version of events was accurate.
“My baby was screaming with hunger, he needed feeding and I always make sure I cover my baby and my breast with a blanket.
“I could see the bus driver looking at me through his mirror and I started to feel uncomfortable.
“Then, when he stopped to let two ladies off, he asked me whether I was breastfeeding. I said ‘yes’ so he told me that ‘I had better stop’.
“I said I was allowed to and he replied with ‘not on this bus you’re not’.”
McKenna wants to see the CCTV footage for herself.
“I am going to go in and have a look at it,” she said. “I’m also speaking to my solicitor who will be coming with me.
“Why would I lie? What would I have to gain? I’ve got no reason to.”
That rhetorical question could possibly be answered by Amy Wootten, a 25-year-old mother from Bristol, in the south of England.
In March, Wootten claimed she had been thrown off a bus after a passenger complained about her breastfeeding her daughter, Emily.
Wootten complained to bus company First and initially received an apology for the “distress” caused.
But a later examination of the CCTV from the bus showed Wootten was not forced off the vehicle by the driver, as she claimed.
The footage shows that the driver did not even speak to her during the journey and it shows the time she got off the bus and the location.
When asked to explain the CCTV footage, Wootten was adamant that the incident had happened the way she had originally recounted it.
To American readers who take a keen interest in breastfeeding issues, please note that McKenna, unlike Kendra Dickinson, of East Hampton, Connecticut, did not complain to the police about an alleged violation of a law passed by Parliament. I wonder why not?