By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - After a breastfeeding mother says she was mistreated, a group of mothers staged a "nurse-in" Wednesday evening. Knoxville mother Jennifer Day says a worker at the Turkey Creek Chick-fil-A expressed concern about her breastfeeding.
"Just as I was finishing up, an employee came up and told me other parents were afraid of letting their children play while I was feeding her especially without a cover," said Day.
Protesters say they wanted to educate more people about Tennessee's law that protects nursing moms.
"We want everyone to feel safe. We want nursing mothers to feel safe because what is more family then a mother and her baby and this is a family restaurant," said nurse-in organizer Anna Hurley.
The group says this "nurse-in" was not intended to embarrass or punish the Turkey Creek Chick-fil-A. The women say they simply want to remedy the mistake.
"We just want to normalize breastfeeding. We just want society to change their views," said Hurley.
6 News reached out to Chick-fil-A, and a restaurant spokesperson issued this statement: "The manager has apologized and regrets any offense he may have caused."
The restaurant adds it is working with the East Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition. "We've offered to come and do employee training with them and help them understand the law and make sure that their employees understand the law. They've been very receptive," said Sherri Hedberg, chair of the East Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition.
Chick-fil-A employees are trained to address the issue, explain Tennessee's law and ask the customer if they would like to be moved if they're still feeling uncomfortable.
Some people dining Wednesday night, like Mike Agee, say they don't have a problem with the women nursing in the restaurant. "But I don't think they need to be completely exposed and try to cover up the best they can," added Agee.
The moms do have a word of advice for anyone who may not agree. "If you're uncomfortable with it you can look away. Moms are really just trying to feed their babies," said Melissa Davenport, who was taking part in this event.
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