Judge rules Keep A Breast “I Heart Boobies” bracelets can’t be banned in schools

April 13, 2011 by Tim Karan

Judge rules Keep A Breast “I Heart Boobies” bracelets can’t be banned in schools

A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Tuesday that the "I (heart) boobies!" bracelets from nonprofit cancer awareness organization Keep A Breast are not vulgar and can't be banned by public school officials who are offended by them. Two girls in Easton, Pennsylvania, were suspended for ignoring a ban and wearing the bracelets on their middle school's Breast Cancer Awareness Day. U.S. Judge Mary McLaughlin said, "The bracelets... can reasonably be viewed as speech designed to raise awareness of breast cancer and to reduce stigma associated with openly discussing breast health." 

Easton Area School District officials argued that the slogan on the wristbands is a sexual double entendre and could lead to distractions in the classroom. They also suggested that a pair of boys were prompted to touch the girls inappropriately due to the wristbands. School district solicitor John Freund said, "We find it very difficult to believe that the judge could not find that there was a sexual double-entendre in the message. If the ruling stands, certainly the educator's job is going to be that much more difficult in deciding these issues with the court second-guessing them."

The American Civil Liberties Union sued to overturn the school ban and to stop the district from punishing the teen girls. McLaughlin ordered a temporary injunction that will keep the school district from banning the bracelets until the case goes to trial. 

Keep A Breast founder Shaney Jo Darden released a statement saying, "Today we made history. We are educating a demographic that other organizations have not been able to reach, and speaking to them about cancer and health in a way that is authentic and inspiring. We are thrilled about the court’s decision, and hope it continues to spark thought-provoking conversations about breast health in schools and throughout the country.”

What do you think of all this? Are the bracelets too provocative? Should it be up to school officials to decide what's proper in their district? Tell us!

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