DMV Breastfeeding Not Indecent Exposure

Security tells woman to stop nursing her son at DMV

By Chris Gordon
|  Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011  |  Updated 8:00 PM EDT
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A nursing mother who was told she wasn't allowed to breastfeed at a District DMV.

Chris Gordon

A nursing mother who was told she wasn't allowed to breastfeed at a District DMV.

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A woman said she was shocked, embarrassed and humiliated when nursing her son at the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles last month, even though she had done nothing wrong.

Simone Manigo-Truell dos Santos filed a complaint after security guards at the Henry Daly Building told her she couldn't nurse her child in a public hallway and accused her of indecent exposure. The security guards didn’t know the rules.

Dos Santos went to the DMV to contest a ticket Nov. 30, and while she waited, she stepped into a hallway and sat on the floor to feed her 4-month-old son, covering up with a cloth diaper while nursing boy.

A security guard approached and told her to stand up. She did and continued nursing her son. Then a second security guard got involved.

“They told me that I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed in a public corridor of a government building,” dos Santos said. “Those were her exact words.”

The second security guard told dos Santos it was indecent exposure.

“We need more training in terms of people knowing what the law is, because this lady was entirely within her rights under D.C. law to do what she did,” said Councilman Jim Graham, who wrote the law allowing breastfeeding in public.

The security guards are not employed by the DMV. They were hired by a company contracted to provide security.

Dos Santos said she would appreciate an apology.

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