An appeals court in Pennsylvania has sided with two girls who said their middle school violated their First Amendment rights by not letting them wear "I heart boobies" bracelets back in 2010. Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk's case might yet be heading to the Supreme Court, though, according to a lawyer for the school system that banned the bracelets.
Martinez and Hawk were wearing the bracelets for weeks at their Easton, Penn. middle school before they were noticed. They and their bracelets didn't cause a disruption, but the girls were suspended after refusing to remove them on Breast Cancer Awareness Day (of all days! What the hell?!).
The ACLU filed a suit on their behalf shortly after and a federal judge prevented the school district from enforcing the ban. The school district appealed and a new decision was reached yesterday. Judge D. Brooks Smith, in conjunction with other judges, said that the bracelets were not "plainly lewd" and clearly had a social, rather than sexual, message. The school district contends that letting Hawk and Martinez wear the bracelets could have led to students wearing even more inappropriate and lewd clothing under the guide of supporting social causes.
While I am an avowed hater of breast cancer rhetoric like "Save second base" and "I heart boobies" (it's not just about breasts, it's about women and women's lives) I do think these girls, and anyone else who chooses to wear them, should have the right to wear their "I heart boobies" bracelets to school. I totally agree with Mary Catherine Roper, the ACLU lawyer, who said that the court's decision:
"recognizes that teens, like adults, must be free to speak and learn about important issues that affect them - even issues, like breast cancer, that make school administrators uncomfortable."
A breast cancer bracelet that says boobies isn't inappropriate, and neither is encouraging young people, particularly young women, to be vocal about their beliefs and their rights.
Photo: Flickr user that one dooood