Thanks to a federal judge, students at Easton Area Middle School can once again express their love of boobies. Two students, 12-year-old Kayla Martinez and 13-year-old Brianna Hawk, got in trouble last October 28, Breast Cancer Awareness Day, for wearing the ubiquitous, awareness raising "I (heart) Boobies! (Keep A Breast)" bracelets. School officials banned the bracelets at the start of the school year, alleging they were a sexual double entendre and could encourage harassment. The ACLU filed suit on behalf of the girls and their parents, saying the ban infringed on their free speech rights.
U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin sided with the two bracelet wearers, writing in her decision, "The bracelets are intended to be and they can reasonably be viewed as speech designed to raise awareness of breast cancer and to reduce the stigma associated with openly discussing breast health." The school is now banned from "suspending, threatening to suspend, or otherwise punishing or disciplining the plaintiffs from wearing the bracelets."
John E. Freund III, the attorney for the school district, expressed his disappointment with the ruling, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer that it's "inconceivable that the court did not recognize that the bracelets were meant to titillate," adding that "There’s no group more distractible than 12- to 14-year-old middle school boys."
Freund's comment is based on the age-old stereotype that girls are just out to sexually distract boys, and boys can't control themselves when girls are around. Maybe he could give the kids some credit and assume the best—that they're actually trying, in their own way, to make a difference.
photo via the Keep a Breast Foundation