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Court Allows ‘Boobies’ Breast Cancer Bracelets

April 20, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging
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So much fuss over rubber bands. Last week, a federal judge overturned a school district’s attempts to ban them. The next day, the school district decided to appeal the ruling.

What’s the big deal about these inch-wide rubber bracelets? As we reported back in November, it’s the “lewd and vulgar” message they carry that drove the Easton [Pennsylvania] Area School District to prohibit them from a public middle school. The message: “I ♥ Boobies.”

The Keep A Breast Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Carlsbad, California, uses the bracelets as a tool to, as the foundation’s Web site says, “increase breast cancer awareness among young people so they are better equipped to make choices and develop habits that will benefit their long-term health and well-being.” The Web site says the foundation uses the b-word “to speak to young people in their own voice.”

Each ban (there have been several, at schools around the country) and lawsuit is definitely increasing awareness of the foundation, at least.

Two female students at Easton Area Middle School received in-school suspensions for wearing the bracelets on the school’s breast cancer awareness day. The girls’ parents objected. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit. And the court sided with the students.

U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin rejected the school district’s argument that the bracelets were lewd and vulgar. She wrote that “they can reasonably be viewed as speech designed to raise awareness of breast cancer and to reduce stigma associated with openly discussing breast health.” Inappropriate remarks from boys, the judge said, did not constitute a severe enough disruption to justify the ban.

In response, the school district’s lawyer, John Freund, sounded almost as petulant as an adolescent who didn’t get his way. The New York Times quoted him as saying:

She gave the principal no benefit of the doubt that the bracelets carried a second, sexual message. The court seemed to give no weight to the fact that we are dealing with middle-school kids.

Freund also said the decision “undermines the authority of school officials to promote civil dialogue and maintain decourm in the schools.”

One wonders what might have happened had school administrators tried to use the bracelet controversy as a teachable moment instead of literally making a federal case out of it. Apparently, that’s not the sort of “civil dialogue” they have in mind.

Related seminar: Pittsburgh Breast Imaging Seminar


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2 Responses to “Court Allows ‘Boobies’ Breast Cancer Bracelets”

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  2. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Supreme Court Allows ‘Boobies’ Wristbands on March 10th, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    […] Roper was quoted by the Morning Call newspaper, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The case originated in 2010. We’ve visited it a couple of times, most recently three years ago. […]