Court rejects school bid to ban 'boobies' bracelets

THE US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a school that suspended two students because they refused to remove bracelets promoting breast cancer awareness.

The decision ends an almost four-year-long case which was started when two girls, Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk, were suspended from their Easton Area School District middle school.

The school had banned bracelets with the slogan "I (heart) Boobies!" which were used to promote breast cancer awareness. The two girls, then aged 12 and 13, refused to take off the bracelets when asked by their principal.

Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk challenged the ban, saying they were trying to promote awareness of the disease at their middle school.

They wore the bracelets on their school's Breast Cancer Awareness Day and refused to take them off. The girls filed suit after being suspended from class.

The justices left in place a US appeals court ruling that found the bracelets were not "plainly lewd," nor had they caused a disruption.

"The principle here is that even kids talk about important things, and when they talk about important things, that's what we should be encouraging," Mary Catherine Roper, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said.

"Kids should be able to talk about things that matter to them in language that is both respectful and familiar to them."

The school district's lawyer, John Freund, said the ruling "robs educators and school boards of the ability to strike a reasonable balance between a student's right to creative expression" and districts' responsibility to make sure schools are "free from sexual entendre and vulgarity."

Easton is one of several school districts around America to ban the bracelets, which are distributed by the nonprofit Keep A Breast Foundation of California.

More on this story at The Independent


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