School officials in eastern Pennsylvania will appeal a federal judge's ruling that allows students to wear breast cancer fundraising bracelets that say, “I (heart) boobies!”
The Easton Area School District voted unanimously Wednesday to appeal the decision by District Judge Mary McLaughlin.
The judge’s decision came in the federal lawsuit that was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on behalf of Easton eighth-graders Brianna Hawk, 13, and Kayla Martinez, 12, who were punished with in-school suspensions for wearing the breast cancer fundraising bracelets.
McLaughlin ruled Tuesday the district cannot ban the rubber jewelry because it is not lewd, vulgar or distracting to the school day.
“The court’s decision confirms that schools cannot censor student speech without a good reason. A student’s freedom to speak – especially about something as important as breast cancer awareness – cannot be shut down because the student chooses words the school administrator would not choose,” Mary Catherine Roper, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Pennsylvania and lead counsel for the students, said Tuesday after the ruling.
District solicitor John Freund says the decision “undermines the authority of school officials to promote civil dialogue and maintain decorum in the schools.”
School officials lost the argument in court that the words on the bracelets were a disruptive and lewd double-entendre.