What to Know
- The clash between a woman breastfeeding her 2-year-old daughter publicly in a NJ borough and a town official who called police escalated
- Michelle Ayala confirmed that her attorney sent a tort notice letter Tuesday afternoon to seeking $1 million in damages
- The mom previously told News 4 a Franklin town official called the police after seeing her breastfeeding in a public
The clash between a woman breastfeeding her 2-year-old daughter publicly in a New Jersey borough and a town official who called police after seeing her escalated this week after the mother’s attorney sent a letter citing $1 million in damages as a result of the incident.
Michelle Ayala confirmed that her attorney, Jason Guiliano, sent a tort notice letter Tuesday afternoon.
A tort notice informs a public agency of a potential lawsuit citing harm that was done.
Ayala says she attended Tuesday night’s Franklin council meeting in hopes of receiving an apology but the council allegedly remained silent.
The mother previously told News 4 a Franklin town official called the police after seeing her breastfeeding her 2-year-old daughter in a public park.
Michelle Ayala said she was with friends at the Franklin Pond Beach in Sussex County on Tuesday when a Franklin Borough Recreation official approached her and asked her to go somewhere else to feed her daughter, Daisy.
“She said, ‘I see what you’re doing there. Do you think you can do that somewhere else?’” Ayala said. “And before she finished, I said ‘I’m allowed to nurse wherever I am.”
Ayala’s assertion was correct -- under New Jersey law, mothers can breastfeed wherever they want -- but the recreation official called the police.
But the officer who responded to the call knew that the law was on her side.
“He said, ‘I support you completely, thank you for your time, your patience’” Ayala said.
Ayala said that the matter didn’t end with the officer, however. A borough administrator also came to the scene and asked her to cover up. The mother said that wouldn’t be practical, because her daughter would just take the cover off.
She said she wanted to share her story to make people more aware.
“There are nursing mothers out there who are brand new. And if somebody that important came up in a suit, nice wedges and confronted that mom, she would never nurse again. Or she would just stay in the house with the kids.”