Middle-Schoolers Sue Over 'Boobies' Bracelet Ban

Girls were suspended; ACLU joins the fight
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2010 12:17 PM CST

(Newser) – The popular "I (heart) boobies!" bracelets may be silly—but that doesn't mean students should be suspended for wearing them, the ACLU asserts. The organization helped two middle-schoolers file a lawsuit against their district yesterday after the $4 bracelets, meant to promote breast cancer awareness, got them suspended, the AP reports. The free speech suit is thought to be the first over these bracelets, which have been banned at many other schools across the country.

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"I don't believe that vulgarity, obscenity, profanity, or nudity [in the school code] apply to the word 'boobies' or 'breast.' There were teachers that had 'breast cancer awareness' T-shirts on," argues the mother of Kayla Martinez, 12, who went so far as to turn the bracelet inside out, to no avail—it was still deemed inappropriate under the school dress code. The school district claims the bracelets, also worn by Brianna Hawk, 13, prompted inappropriate comments from some boys. Even so, "the First Amendment does not allow schools to censor students' speech merely because some students and teachers are offended by the non-vulgar educational message," says an ACLU lawyer. Click here to read why one columnist finds the bracelets offensive.
(Read more breast cancer stories.)

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