Brief Fact Summary. Dike sued the school board alleging that it unduly interfered with a constitutionally protected right by preventing her from breastfeeding at work. The district court dismissed the action
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Nurturing and rearing of children is included in the rights of privacy protected by the United States Constitution.
The school board's interests in avoiding disruption of the educational process, in ensuring that teachers perform their duties without distraction, and in avoiding potential liability for accidents are presumably legitimate.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Did the district court err by finding a claim that the right to nurture a child by breastfeeding was not constitutionally protected?
Held. The district court erred because the right to nurture a child by breastfeeding is included in the spectrum of interests the Supreme Court has protected under the Constitution.
Rights of personal privacy or fundamental personal liberties such as marriage, contraception, and family relationships are constitutional protected from state interference. Nurturing and rearing children is included in this list, and breastfeeding is the most elemental form of parental care. Therefore it is a constitutionally protected right.
The school board may still prove that its regulations further sufficiently important state interests that are closely tailored to effectuate only those interests. Such interests would likely include the disruption of the educational process and avoiding potential liability.
Discussion. The Court found that breastfeeding was a fundamental personal liberty protected by the Constitution. Therefore, laws that abridge it are subject to close scrutiny. The Court did not determine if the school board’s reasons were closely tailored to promote a significant state interest because the district board dismissed the action.