A divided 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Aug. 5 ruled in favor of two middle school students who wore “I [HEART] Boobies” bracelets to school in support of breast cancer awareness. The court said the school district violated their free speech rights by banning the bracelets and suspending the girls.
Students Stand Up for Rights
Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk, seventh and eighth graders, respectively, at Easton Area Middle School in 2010, bought the rubber bracelets from the Keep a Breast Foundation with their mothers, in order to commemorate family members and friends they’d lost to breast cancer, according to the opinion.
After a few weeks of teachers noticing female students wearing the bracelets, according to the opinion, the school decided to prohibit bracelets containing the word “boobies,” although it encouraged students to wear other items in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, such as the traditional pink ribbons.
Martinez and Hawk were ordered to remove their bracelets on the school’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day. They refused and were suspended. The entire school district then banned the bracelets.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania sued the school district in November 2010 on behalf of Martinez and Hawk. In April 2011, a federal judge enjoined the school from enforcing the ban, according to the ACLU, and the full 3rd Circuit agreed to hear the case – a move that signals an important case.
An 8th grade student in West Virginia was arrested and taken to jail for wearing a National Rifle Association (NRA) t-shirt to school.
Jared Marcum had no idea the trouble that awaited him as he got dressed for school on Thursday morning, or that his pro-Second Amendment shirt would launch a fight over his First Amendment rights, the local CBS affiliate reported.
“I never thought it would go this far because honestly I don’t see a problem with this, there shouldn’t be a problem with this,” Jared told WOWK-TV.
His t-shirt has an image of a gun printed on it and that was enough to get him suspended from Logan Middle School, arrested and facing two charges, obstruction and disturbing the education process.
Jared’s father Allen Lardieri had to rush from work to pick his son up from jail over something he says was blown out of proportion, according to WOWK-TV.
“I don’t’ see how anybody would have an issue with a hunting rifle and NRA put on a t-shirt, especially when policy doesn’t forbid it,” Lardieri said.
As noted in the report, the school’s dress code policy prohibits clothing that displays profanity, violence, discriminatory messages and more but nowhere in the document does it say anything about gun images.
I am appalled a the school official’s explanation that “they are just trying to create a culture of respect.” WHAT??? Are we teaching our kids to accept that insanity is the norm? What about teaching our kids reasonability and how to tell the difference.
Teaching a child to fear simple play is tragic when play is now confined to “appropriate ….Lego play.” Really???
I understand that what happened in recent events has many people up in arms (no pun intended), but to take something so tragic and make it even worse by taking it to a level of absurdity is truly a miscarriage of justice to our own children.
We should be teaching our children the concept of reasonability instead of insanity!