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First Amendment

Federal Judge Says Middle Schoolers Can Wear ‘Boobies’ Bracelets to Raise Breast-Cancer Awareness

Posted Apr 13, 2011 6:35 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Saying that middle schoolers have a constitutional right to express their views about breast cancer and attempt to reduce the "stigma" associated with discussing breast health, a federal judge in Philadelphia has held that two Pennsylvania students, age 12 and 13, cannot be punished for wearing bracelets that express their love for "boobies."

Specifically, the bracelets say "I (heart) Boobies! (Keep A Breast)," reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. That reasonably can be viewed as speech intended to promote breast health, said U.S. District Judge Mary McLaughlin in a written opinion yesterday.

"There's no group more distractible than 12- to 14-year-old middle school boys," laments school district attorney John Freund III, who contends that the bracelets are "meant to titillate." He says Easton Area Middle School hasn't yet decided whether to appeal.

Attorney Carl Hittinger, who represents Brianna Hawk, 13, and Kayla Martinez, 12, couldn't be reached for comment by the newspaper.

Earlier coverage:

ABA Journal: "Latest Front on the Free-Speech Wars Could Be on Your Wrist"

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