Breastfeeding Mother Kicked Out Due to Baby Being a “Security Threat”
On January 3 2015, the Casino at Ocean Downs in Maryland asked Alanna Panas, a breastfeeding mother, to leave the casino, claiming that her baby was a “security threat” after finding her feeding her baby in a quiet corner of the casino’s lobby.
During a break to her family’s beach home in Ocean City, Maryland, mother Alanna Panas visited the Casino at Ocean Downs with her father and boyfriend while her mother cared for her baby.
“My mother and sister took Lilly for about an hour so my father, boyfriend and I could enjoy some time at the casino,” Alanna said in an interview with USA Today. It was our first time going to one.”
After Alanna’s mother dropped her baby off with her at the casino and went home.
It was then that Alanna realized her infant was still hungry and needed to be fed. After noticing that she didn’t have her car keys and not wanting to stand in the rain with a breastfeeding baby, Alanna texted her boyfriend to bring her the car keys and found a quiet corner of the already deserted lobby to wait.
The newborn baby began to fuss so Panas made and informed decision to feed her baby in the empty lobby. It was at that point that Panas was approached by the casinos security personnel and told to leave the building immediately.
“They told me that Lilly was a security threat,” Panas said talking to press. However, she was not on the casinos gaming floor where you need to be 21 and, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “a mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location in which the mother and child are authorized to be”.
Panas said she was fully aware of the laws as well as casino regulations due to the many signs posted throughout the casino. “But I didn’t have my baby on the casino floor,” Panas has said, “Lilly and I were in the corner of the lobby.”
After the incident, Panas posted a message to her Facebook page, where she vented her frustration at the treatment received by the casino. Her story was quickly picked up by support groups and the incident has since gone viral.
The Casino at Ocean Downs has refused all requests from the media for comment, although they did post a message on their own Facebook page stating: “Casino at Ocean Downs strives to make our guests’ experiences enjoyable, and if any member of our team acted in a manner that did not promote that experience, we apologize. We will be reaching out to Ms. Panas directly to discuss her concerns.”
However, after a phone call made to Allana, where she has said they did apologize, she was not satisfied, “They just basically said it was Lilly and my fault.”
As it stands, Alanna is still considering her options, “My baby and I did nothing wrong,” she said. “I just want a sincere apology for the way we were treated.”
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