Two girls in Pennsylvania have won a victory for student free speech after a federal appeals court ruled the Easton Area School District can’t ban “I (heart) boobies” cancer awareness bracelets.

Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez wore the awareness bracelets, from the Keep A Breast Foundation, to school on Breast Cancer Awareness Day in defiance of the ban. They were each suspended from school for the infraction, and they filed suit.

The girls challenged the school district in 2010 with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. The girls testified they merely wanted to raise awareness of breast cancer at their middle school.

District lawyer John Freund described the bracelets as “cause-based marketing energized by sexual double-entendres.” He said middle school is “a witch’s brew of hormones and curiosity,” and said the bracelets’ sexual undertone was meant to invite disruption.

The school district appealed after the lower court ruled for the students. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court.

In a split opinion, the court rejected the argument that the bracelets were lewd and disruptive. The court found breast cancer awareness among young people to be a relevant social issue, and found the bracelets did not cause disruptions at school.

In a rare move, the entire 3rd Circuit heard the school district’s appeal rather than leave it to a three-judge panel. During those arguments, Judge Dolores Sloviter said she did not see the slogan as sexual, and told the crowded courtroom that she had lost a colleague on the court to breast cancer.

Perish the thought a student might see the word, “breast”. Gasp!

  1. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Silly Legal System: “In a split opinion, the court rejected the argument that the bracelets were lewd and disruptive. The court found breast cancer awareness among young people to be a relevant social issue, and found the bracelets did not cause disruptions at school.” //// Of course….. its both.

    Lots of good reasons for a strict dress code/UNIFORM to be worn at schools. A ban on speech makes sense when to allow speech requires choices that validly upset one group and then the next. School is for LEARNING. Not the expression of your “absolute constitutional rights” as some idiots would sincerely claim.

    Imagine that?

  2. Gwad his own self says:

    bobbo, you clearly did not get enough boobies as a child

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Oh, but I did. Then not as a teenager. Then I did as a young adult. Now?…..not so much. Its an ebb and flow kind of deal.

      • Mr Diesel - Bobbo, who thinks there is nothing wrong with child porn. says:

        Lose your kiddie porn subscription?

        • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

          Mr D—maybe your kiddie porn has boobies. I have never seen any such examples. I think playboy or some mag had an “article” on little kiddies with huge titties. So long ago, it wasn’t even Photoshop, but artistic renderings?? The juxtaposition was supposed to mean something other than the titillation. Hmmm…doesn’t sound like Playboy… or Mad Magazine. Could it have been Hustler or some other rag?

          But Mr D, to be fair, THIS thread has nothing to do with boobies of any porn variety but rather the right/restrictions on advertising and speaking up in favor of Early Breast Exams.

          You don’t overly associate breast exams with child porn do you Mr D???? Please say it aint so!

          What do you think?—Is this most likely Child Porn, or “nothing wrong with it?”==>

          15 yo girl takes a selfy, sends it to a friend, and is charged with child porn:

          When did you stop thinking past a bumper sticker Mr D????

          • Just Dave says:

            I love the first comment from the article you linked. – – “It baffles me as to how intelligent dinosaurs became extinct while the human race, full of idiots, continue to exist.” Ha ha.

          • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

            Agree, it makes one smile on first reading. Doesn’t stand up to scrutiny though does it.

            Rhetoric is like that. Sounds good, but doesn’t really mean anything. Too many people are not even aware of any distinction between the form and the substance of an argument.

            I find it amusing that the same survival technique was used then as now: the stupid humans hide in holes.

          • Just Dave says:

            “I find it amusing that the same survival technique was used then as now: the stupid humans hide in holes.”

            Now that’s funny! 🙂

  3. deowll says:

    Freedom of speech, enough said.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      For a bumpersticker mentality.

    • msbpodcast says:

      Freedom of corporate speech as the bracelets are obviously produced by some for profit company.

      There is no force on earth as powerful as profit.

      Certainly not education and specially not in Pennsylvania.

      This was a ruling that interfered with somebody’s god given right to make a buck hawkin’ those cheap bracelets.

      It had to go…

  4. spsffan says:

    Wow, the courts got one right for a change!

    Next thing you know, they will allow girls to wear pants!

  5. Uncle Patso says:

    I’d let any hypothetical daughters wear these bracelets, if they bought them with their own money. I think breast cancer awareness is a worthy cause, having lost a sister to it when she was only in her 40s.

    I know these would _not_ have flown where/when I went to school, but then I’m old.

  6. Just Dave says:

    I wonder what would happen if they wore a bracelet that said “I heart wienies”, in support of prostrate cancer.

    • spsffan says:

      Your prostate is not part of your wienie.

      But I bet they have I heart Justin Beiber, and he’s certainly a wienie.

      • Just Dave says:

        “Your prostate is not part of your wienie.” – Right. But erectile dysfunction can be a side effect of treatment. So maybe the bracelet should read “I love HARD wienies.”

        And I agree, JB is a wienie!

  7. sargasso_c says:

    Allow us the freedom to express our displeasure.

  8. I.Dohno says:

    Bobbo can even make the topic of boobs unreadable.

  9. Dairy King says:

    Who does not like breasts. Women like having them, babies love them, men go crazy around them. We all love cheese, ice cream, white meat chicken breasts, butter, and MOSTLY OUR GOOD FRIENDS!!!

    Politics in small towns are screwed up. Remember the seven dirty words.

    • Greg Allen says:

      Especially in middle school, girls can get taunted about their breasts.

      It’s a real issue.

      But, does a braclet taunt anyone? I don’t think so.

  10. Dairy King says:

    We all live in different time zones. The time listed on the post is whacked out.
    USE GMT!!

    For those who don’t know what means…..too bad.

    • Greg Allen says:

      As a ham radio operator, I don’t undersand why everybody doesn’t use GMT/UTC.

      Unless you are dealing only with locals, it makes sense.

  11. Greg Allen says:

    When I worked in a middle school, one of my male students was wearing a “I Heart Boobies” braclet. (I didn’t know it was about breast cancer.)

    I have to admit, I was not sure how to deal with it.

    We have a legal obligation to maintain a non-sexualized teaching environment.

    But, I figured “what the hell?” and let it pass.

    I think that was the right call.

    • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

      Well Greg—you didn’t know what to do? Meaning you haven’t been trained in how to maintain a “non-sexualized teaching environment?” Suppose the breacelet did mean what makes you comfortable as in it could just as easily been the recent chard busting song by some Pop Artist. And if you let the girls wear it, you have to let the boys wear it too. And then…… and then….. you do get both groups wearing I Love Weiners …… then Tits and Dicks. Then invitations to Rainbow Parties….. and on and on.

      So…. it wasn’t the right call==you made no call at all. Take on my hypothetical. You dodged it once, but it will come again.

      Good to think things through so as to be ready when it counts. OTOH==also good to think it through and resolve to mind your own business and hope the fickle finger of fate doesn’t land on you. At least then, you weren’t waving your hands around? But then…. you aren’t actively maintaining a non-sexualized environment.

      Seems to me you’re on the cusp of being screwed no matter what you do. I blame society.

      Ha, ha.

      • Greg Allen says:

        Yes, I have had training.

        And yes, I made a call. Chosing _not_ to do something is a call, too.

        About every week, there is a story about some teacher or principal who suspended some kid for making a gun with his finger, having an aspirin, or kissing a fellow 5 year old.

        There is also splitting the difference, I do that all the time, too. I’ll challenge a kid without punishing him/her. (My normal first step in discipline, BTW) If that boy had kept wearing the bracelet, I might have pulled him aside and asked him about it.

        If he had said it was for breast cancer (which is decidedly non-sexual) I would have still let it go.

        But, Bobbo, I think your point is that teaching in the schools is like walking through landmines. You are right!

        • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

          That was my point. Thanks for responding to that and not the smoke screen I so often use. I made that even harder by having a difficult to tell typo: “Suppose the bracelet did mean what makes you UN—comfortable…” Changes the meaning.

          When “not sure” what to do, recognizing that fact and “waiting a day or two” or for another occurrence is the best strategy. I think I misplaced where or on what your uncertainty was placed??

          Life is a minefield. Thankfully, not as many as in a class of student or 6-7-8 groups thru the day? Get thru your work day and “life” should be a piece of cake??

  12. Glenn E. says:

    Now if these were bracelets promoting the Dick’s Sporting Goods chain, that would be really funny. “I (heart) Dick’s”. Har


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