Illinois Governor Approves Law to Give Student Mothers a Private Place to Take Care of Breastfeeding Related Issues


The Lactorium, which was formerly a men’s bathroom, is now a comfortable space for students and staff to nurse.


     On Aug. 4, the governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, approved HB2369, which requires all public schools in Illinois to provide a space, other than a bathroom, for students to pump breast milk or breastfeed.  

     The bill was proposed by Rep. Sonya M. Harper in February. The purpose of the bill is to give mothers in high school a safe, private space, with an outlet, to pump breast milk, breastfeed their child or address other breastfeeding-related issues. The bill also states that students may not be given a penalty, including an academic penalty, for use of the accommodations.

     The introduction of this bill was due to the difficulty that many student mothers have in balancing school and taking care of their child, especially when it comes to nursing and pumping milk. Passing this law that not only gives students a private, comfortable space to do this, but also guarantees that their academics will not suffer in return.

     Recently, before the bill was made law, LHS converted a bathroom located by the CRC into a private room for staff and students that complies with the new law. The stall was taken out of the bathroom and now it has a comfortable chair, a rug, running water and an electrical outlet. In addition, the door locks from the inside, so the user is ensured privacy.

     The room, now called the Lactorium, was added after a group of staff mothers with young children approached the school board asking for a space separate from the nurse’s room in which they could pump. Dr. Koulentes reasoned that the administration agreed to create this space because “we really are a school that really cares about our employees and we really care about our employees who have young children…we want our teachers to feel like they can be great teachers and great parents and so we want to make every effort we can to help that happen.”

     Though LHS has not yet had a student need to use the Lactorium, Mrs. Sandra Kruckman, the principal’s secretary, ensured that the use of that room “certainly works for students just like it would for teachers.”