The case started in 2010 when Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez, then ages 12 and 13, challenged their school's ban on 'I love boobies' bracelets after they were suspended for wearing them on Breast Cancer Awareness Day. (The girls are shown wearing the bracelets below.)
The Easton Area School District claimed the bracelets are lewd and disruptive, and should be banned from school. School Superintendent John Reinhart said the bracelets are "cause-based marketing energized by sexual double-entendres."
In August, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision in favor of the girls, saying the district didn't prove its case. On Tuesday the school board voted 7-1 to appeal the court's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
What's your take? Is the 'I love boobies' slogan-- a highly successful public relations campaign-- really crude and offensive in a sexual way? Is this a school board overreacting to two adolescent girls promoting breast health? Are these two girls knowingly taking advantage of the slogan to "disrupt" the school?
What do you think the Supreme Court will say?
d. all of the above.
No clue how they'll rule. It's disruptive but not necessarily lewd. In loco parentis gives the schools a lot of power.
I loath this ad campaign. I don't give a flying fuck about my dead aunt's dead boobies, my grandma's boobs, or my other grandma's once-boob-now-chest. What I care about is my aunt, my grandma, and my grandma.
Having a friend that had breast cancer, and her having to have one of them removed, I can say she cares about her boobies. She cares that one is lost and she had to get a fake one to replace it. It may be sad and wrong, but the feminine identity is closely tied to breasts... and losing one or both is psychologically damaging regardless of ideology.
Yes, the first priority should be saving a person's life... but there's nothing wrong with wanting to save our boobies, either. There's nothing wrong with loving parts of our bodies. It would be fantastic if the cure we find leaves our breasts intact.
Adding a bit more information here at the top of the thread:
Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk had people close to them affected and killed by breast cancer. They were suspended for wearing the "I ♥ Boobies!" bracelets on the school's 'Breast Cancer Awareness Day'.
They and many other students had been wearing the bracelets since school started in September, without disruption to the school. Then, in mid-October, the school abruptly announced that students must turn the bracelets inside out. There had still been no disruption when two weeks later, on October 25, the school announced the bracelets were banned from the building.
Three days later, with the knowledge and permission of their mothers, the girls wore the bracelets on the school's Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The assistant principal suspended the two girls for the rest of the day and the following day.
In a letter to the editor published in the Easton Express Times on November 3, Brianna wrote, "I feel my right to freedom of speech was violated, as I was expressing my care and concern toward this disease that has affected millions of women of all ages."
The ACLU sent a letter to the EASD solicitor on November 4, 2010, explaining that Kayla and Brianna had a constitutional right to wear the bracelets because they did not disrupt the school and were not lewd, profane or indecent. On Friday afternoon, November 11, the district denied the ACLU's request, arguing that some students and teachers were offended and that some boys were making fun of girls' breasts.
The ACLU noted that, "If some students respond inappropriately to the girls' health-conscious message, the school should discipline the rude students and not censor the responsible young ladies."
In April 2011, Judge Mary McLaughlin of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that EASD's ban violated the students' First Amendment right to free speech and issued an injunction preventing the school from enforcing its ban.
"The First Amendment protects schools as a space where students are free to discuss important issues like breast cancer and talk about their bodies in positive terms," said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. "The court's decision today is an important reminder to school administrators that they can't punish students for speaking out just because their speech might be uncomfortable or misunderstood."
The school appealed the injunction, arguing that the school should be able to ban the breast cancer bracelets because their slogan could be misinterpreted as "lewd" and might offend some in the school community. EASD also argued that school officials were justified in banning the bracelets out of concern that they might disrupt school activities.
In February 2013, Mary Catherine Roper of the ACLU of Pennsylvania argued the plaintiffs' case before 14 judges on the court of appeals. Nine of the judges agreed the bracelets are not "plainly lewd" and that EASD violated the First Amendment when it suspended two middle school students for wearing the bracelets in school.
"The majority's opinion 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," said Roper.
The decision marks the first time a federal court of appeals has ruled that student speech that is plausibly understood as commenting on political or social issues is protected by the First Amendment even if it contains language that could be considered lewd by some.
If some students respond inappropriately to the girls' health-conscious message, the school should discipline the rude students and not censor the responsible young ladies.
This is spot on. I don't even remotely agree that kids should wear uniforms or avoid anything that could be a "distraction" while at school. The world is full of distractions, and part of learning to live in the world is learning how to tune out the distractions to get your work done. The "burden of improvement", as it were, should be placed on those who are easily distracted to improve their attention span. Catering to bad habits helps no one, and it enables bad behavior or childish attitudes/responses. Learn control!
Gallup: (quoting another source) If some students respond inappropriately to the girls' health-conscious message, the school should discipline the rude students and not censor the responsible young ladies.
Cara Coleen: This is spot on. I don't even remotely agree that kids should wear uniforms or avoid anything that could be a "distraction" while at school.
I think you're onto something here. It seems to me that "distraction" is a euphemism for school administrators doing the difficult job of distinguishing rude behavior from legitimate discourse. (The bracelets could inspire both, but not inherently or exclusively one or the other.) So it was decided: ignore the distinction and make it easier on themselves by making it harder on the girls. Out came the muzzles and the trumped-up cries of outrage.
"Out came the muzzles and the trumped-up cries of outrage."
Standard Operating Procedure for cowards with power.
The school in which I taught banned T-shirts that had on them
See Dick Drink
See Dick drive
Don't be a Dick.
As an American, I agree we are control freaks. We're all about controlling everything for optimization, maximizing productivity, managing costs, restricting personal behaviors deemed immoral, etc. It's kind of our thing. Sometimes it works out well to try to stay ontop of 'everything.' But in this case, you're right. They're all worked up about the word 'boobie' when we have so many higher priorities. People love a good moral panic about 'kids these days' and how to 'raise 'em right.'
It was the Puritans who brought this xtian crap to the shores of this continent, the people living here at the time weren't afraid of Boobies.
It's hard to say if the girls were disrupting anything, but I highly suspect they were. I wouldn't even notice any message in that jumbled pile of crap bracelets unless my attention were specifically drawn to them - and I suspect this is what happened, that a bunch of kids were hootin', hollerin', laughin', and in desperate need of a good paddlin'.