Woman Behind Photos of Military Moms Breastfeeding In Uniform Gets FiredMonica Bielanko
The woman who shared two photos featuring moms from the military breastfeeding while in uniform with the world says she has been fired from her job as an X-ray technician.
As I first reported, Crystal Scott is the program director of the Mom2Mom breastfeeding awareness group at Fairchild Air Force Base. Scott is also an Army veteran and a military spouse. As a part of the Mom2Mom campaign, Scott used a photo of two fellow military mamas, Terran Echegoyen-McCabe and Christina Luna, breastfeeding their children while in uniform.
Now, as Yahoo! Shine reports, although Scott’s job as an X-ray technician for Schryver Medical is a civilian job, her lawyer says she was fired for her work with the breastfeeding campaign.
“She was fired due to her passion about the Mom2Mom breastfeeding campaign and speaking out on gender equality and women’s rights,” her lawyer, Pat K. Buchanan, told Yahoo! Shine.
Schryver Medical’s president, Jay Schryver, released a formal statement detailing their version of events:
“Crystal Scott was terminated by the company on June 1st for various legitimate employment-related reasons,” he wrote in the statement. “Amongst other things, on the day prior to her termination, Ms. Scott had clocked in to the company’s timekeeping system and had been assigned time-sensitive tasks that were wholly ignored. Thereafter, Ms. Scott ignored the company’s repeated attempts to contact her to inquire as to her whereabouts and status of her job assignments. When the company finally did get a hold of Ms. Scott, she informed them that she was sick and would not be working. Based on company records including GPS data from a company van that had been assigned to her Ms. Scott was actually at a local media outlet conducting personal business, on company time, using company equipment as transportation.”
“Schryver Medical can certainly understand the excitement Ms. Scott experienced in being courted by the media, both on a personal level and as a means to effectively promote her cause,” he continued. “That said, those circumstances simply do not excuse her from violating the reasonable expectations of her employer.” He said that Scott had been informed of her infractions “in detail, in writing,” and “at no time did Schryver Medical tell Crystal Scott that she was terminated due to any ‘media attention,’ as that contention is simply not true.”
The controversial photos, taken by Brynja Sigurdardottir, have appeared around the world, with some people outraged that the women would breastfeeding while in uniform. Strollerderby readers left the following comments on my first report:
I still get angry with these women breastfeeding in uniform!!! I am a mom and I am NOT against breastfeeding at all. However, they are disgracing the uniform and it makes me so mad!!!! Come on ladies, if you joined the military you should know that as they say you are a soldier first. I have always heard a woman should not be in the military and you are proving thier point !! I do not agree with that statement, however if want to be in the military show some RESPECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – Lisa
and whats WRONG is with picture? These women risk their lives for us but ppl want to give them crap for breastfeeding their babies? Think about it, they are often away from their children for months, years at a time so whatever bonding time or mothods they have with their children they should do and without complaints! I am a nurse which is a respected career and has certain standards to live up to albeit quite different ones, but I guess I shouldnt breastfeed in my nurses uniform cause it mite be disgraceful to the nursing profession!! – Tamara
Is it ok to formula feed their babies in uniform? It is legal to Breastfeed in public. People need to understand, that’s what our breasts were created for. It’s been made such a big deal because our breasts are portrayed by media and some as being sexual. And my next question is, if we have to Breastfeed in the bathroom, why don’t bottlefed babies have to as well? Bathrooms are gross. Breastfeeding is nothing close to deficating or urinating. So it shouldn’t have to be done in a bathroom. – Elizabeth
Crystal Scott tells Yahoo! she was surprised by the outrage. “I’m an X-ray tech and I breastfeed in my uniform all the time…Granted they’re scrubs. But people do it all the time in their uniforms. If you have a hungry baby, why would you take the time to change completely?”
Both women from the photo, members of the Air National Guard, have been reprimanded for violating a policy that forbids military members from using the uniform to further a cause, promote a product or imply an endorsement, according to the Air Force Times.
“The uniform was misused. That’s against regulations,” Captain Keith Kosik, a spokesman for the Washington National Guard, told the Air Force Times. “I want to be very, very clear about this. Our issue is not, nor has it ever been, about breastfeeding. It has to do with honoring the uniform and making sure it’s not misused. I can’t wear my uniform to a political rally, to try to sell you something or push an ideology. That was our point of contention.”
Her lawyer says that the publicity over the photos was only part of the reason Scott lost her job. In May, Scott had complained about gender bias at Schryver Medical, where she had been working for about 16 months, Buchanan says. Her boss asked her not to file a formal complaint, saying that “he’d handle it,” Buchanan says. Two weeks later, Scott was fired. Schryver Medical denies the accusation, of course.
What do you think? Did the company drum up some reasons to get rid of Scott or was her firing legitimate? Also, do you agree with the Air Force reprimanding the two women in the breastfeeding photo? They claim the women “misused” the uniform but I’m not really sure how feeding your child is misusing your uniform. Like commenter Elizabeth mentioned, “Is it ok to formula feed their babies in uniform? It is legal to breastfeed in public.”
In my humble opinion, the only way this could be misusing the uniform is if you are sexualizing breastfeeding, plain and simple. Otherwise, it’s just two women feeding/bonding with their children and there is nothing better than that in the world. If they are willing to risk their lives in uniform, they should certainly be able to feed their children while in uniform.
Photo credit: Brynja Sigurdardottir Photography (Facebook page)
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