Teacher says she was fired over breaks to pump breast milk

A women's room sign on a wooden door.

PORTLAND, Maine — A former Falmouth elementary school teacher contends the school district declined to renew her contract because she took three breaks a day to pump breast milk for her baby.

Thirty-three-year-old Shana Swenson, of Portland, sued last week in federal court, claiming discrimination on the basis of gender and pregnancy.

Melissa Hewey, an attorney for Falmouth schools, told the Bangor Daily News that the claims of discrimination are “false.” She said the district provides on-site daycare, extended parental leave and paid time for breast pumping or breastfeeding.

Swenson was a “response to intervention” teacher who helped students in the third through fifth grades who struggled with reading and math. The lawsuit says she was subjected to “extreme animosity and hostility” because of her breaks during the day.

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