TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) - New details are emerging in the incident of a mother who was asked to leave a SMART bus because she was breast feeding her child.
SMART has released the following statement about the incident:
As the regional transit provider, SMART works hard to ensure our services are safe, convenient and reliable and that we comply with all appropriate federal and state laws. As such, SMART supports a mothers right to breastfeed her child. It is our policy to permit this activity on all SMART buses.
We have taken the recent complaint very seriously and are investigating the full incident. The driver involved in the situation has been taken out of service pending conclusion of our investigation.
SMART is southeast Michigan’s only regional transit system serving Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. Recognized nationally as an innovator in community based service for its unique partnerships with 75 communities, SMART is posting record ridership with nearly 12 million passengers using the service annually.
Both SMART and Taylor Police also say that they have now confirmed that Taylor police were not involved in the incident. They say that they have determined that security guards from Southland Mall, which is nearby the bus stop, came on the bus and asked Afrykayn Moon to leave the bus. There has been no comment from Southland.
Moon said all she was trying to do was get to Southfield to rent a car when a smart bus driver told her she could not ride the bus because she was exposing her breast while breastfeeding.
Wednesdays developments come in the wake of Tuesdays new that 70 moms have signed up to breastfeed their children in the SMART bus terminal on Friday where the accused bus driver departs every morning.
Moon said she got on the bus with her 2-week-old son Zomon, and 3-year-old daughter anyway. Moon says the bus driver continued to order her from the bus; cussed at her; told her SMART bus did not want her on the bus and when Moon would not leave and called what she thought was the Taylor Police Department.
Moon said the driver pulled over and would not move the bus until the two security officers arrived. Moon said the security officers claimed they were responding to an unruly passenger.
Moon explained to the security officers what was going on at which point, Moon says, they left. According to Moon the driver continued to harass her and giver her problems, so she called a relative to come get her.
Moon said she is very familiar with breastfeeding laws in Michigan because she belongs to a breastfeeding group, and did breastfeed her daughter until she was 2-years-old.
Moon said the bus driver was a female.
Action News spoke by phone with another passenger who corroborated Moon's story. The woman said she never met Moon before that day but was outraged by the driver's behavior and offered to be a witness for the mother.
Moon said she started a blog because she was so outraged by what happened. You can read more about the incident here.
A SMART spokesperson said they were made aware of the situation Monday afternoon. She also says that the woman was allowed to board the bus and that SMART does not have a policy to forbid women from breast feeding.
SMART said that as far as she knew, no police officers were called and the woman was not asked to leave the bus. The company is continuing to investigate the situation.
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