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Dike v. School Board

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
650 F.2d 783 (1981)


Facts

Janice Dike (plaintiff), a kindergarten teacher, returned to work after the birth of her child. In order to continue breastfeeding her child without impacting her job obligations, Dike had her husband or babysitter bring the baby to school during Dike’s lunch hour, at which time Dike would breastfeed the baby in a private, locked room. The principal of Dike’s school informed Dike that her activity violated a regulation of the school board (defendant), which forbid teachers from bringing their children to work on the ground that it might be disruptive or subject the school board to litigation if the child got injured. After the principal’s admonition, Dike pumped breast milk that could be fed to her baby by bottle. When the baby refused to be bottle-fed, however, Dike requested permission to breastfeed off-campus during her lunch hour. Her request was denied on the basis of a school board regulation forbidding teachers from leaving the school grounds during the workday. Eventually, Dike chose to take an unpaid leave of absence. She sued the school board, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for violating her right to breastfeed. The district court dismissed her claim as frivolous. Dike appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Godbold, J.)

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