Boobies Prevail: Girls Win Court Battle After Being Suspended for Breast Cancer Awareness Efforts

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File Photo
File Photo

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge to the Third Circuit’s ruling that a Pennsylvania school district could not prevent students from wearing breast cancer awareness bracelets.

The American Civil Liberties Union, who sued the Easton Area School District on behalf of the two suspended students, hailed the decision as a victory for students First Amendment rights.

At issue was the fact that the students wore rubber bracelets that read “I (heart) boobies!” on their school’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day in 2010.

Briana Hawk and Kayla Martinez were in eighth and seventh grades, respectively, when they were suspended by their school. A district court judge found that the school district had violated the girls’ First Amendment right to free speech and issued an injunction preventing the school from enforcing its ban, the ACLU said.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case means the Third Circuit’s ruling stands.

The ruling stated that the bracelets could not be banned because they were not “plainly lewd” and did not threaten “substantial and material disruption of the school.”

“This is 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,” the ACLU said.

“I am happy we won this case, because it’s important that students have the right to stand up for a cause and try to make a difference. We just wanted to raise awareness about breast cancer,” Hawk said in a statement released by the ACLU.

Martinez added, “This whole experience has taught me that speaking up about issues that really matter to young people really makes a difference, even if you're only in seventh grade.”

Trending on Patch is a category showcasing popular stories from across Patch's network of 900 local news sites.

Igor April 08, 2014 at 05:21 PM
Stanley The Fool. Is that kind of talk necessary? Remember you aren't in a men's club. Please have a little respect for the ladies on here, if not for yourself.
Megan Michelle Hansard April 09, 2014 at 11:37 AM
To the people who are saying "what if there were a picture of testicles" or "i <3 Cock" I mean come on are you serious? Yes if it was a picture of boobs it would be inappropriate, and the word cock is so much more obscene than boobies. I wonder why our generation is in such a state of dismay, then I see what parents are teaching their children.
Angela Farley April 09, 2014 at 12:45 PM
You're right about me saying a picture of testicles. To liken it to the article, it should simply say "I <heart> testicles" and it probably wouldn't be accepted. What I would have taught my daughter if this happened to her would be that sometimes you have to follow rules that you don't agree with and when you are in charge you get to make those rules. Watch where this takes us.
Angela Farley April 09, 2014 at 12:49 PM
Also, I wholeheartedly agree that the word c**k is much more obscene then boobies, but is the fact that we feel that way enough to say that it's not freedom of speech or acceptable?
Kolo Jezdec April 09, 2014 at 02:00 PM
Ms Farley, that is a thought provoking point.


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