Middle Schoolers Suspended for "Boobies" Awareness Bracelets

ACLU, Easton Area students dispute ban on breast cancer awareness bracelets

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kayla Martinez, a Northampton student, was punished for wearing controversial breast cancer bracelets to school. (Published Thursday, Nov 4, 2010)

    At least three Easton Area Middle School students received in-school suspensions last week and are banned from a formal school dance for wearing bracelets that say, "I (Heart) Boobies. Keep a Breast."
     
    The American Civil Liberties Union is now fighting the school district on behalf of the students.

    After Kayla Martinez, 13, was suspended and banned from the school dance for wearing the popular breast cancer awareness bracelets, her mother Amy contacted the ACLU.

    As a result of Amy Martinez’ efforts, the ACLU now wants the Easton Area School District to rescind its ban on the “boobies” bracelets, remove the suspensions from the students’ records, and allow them to go to the dance.

    "If she said something irrational or crazy, I wouldn't support her," Amy Martinez, 32, of Forks Township, told the Express-Times, referring to her daughter. "But this word is a part of the body. It's not offensive. And it's for a good cause."

    School officials have told The Express-Times of Easton that the rubber bracelets are inappropriate, distracting and demeaning.

    Other U.S. school districts have similar bans.

    But the Pennsylvania ACLU says the ban violates students' free speech rights. It sent a letter Thursday asking the district to rescind the policy.

    Martinez told the Express-Times that she doesn’t want to waste the taxpayers’ money on a lawsuit, but if the district forces her hand she will sue.

    The California-based nonprofit Keep A Breast Foundation sells the bracelets to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer organizations.