Two Pennsylvania girls were suspended from Easton Area Middle School in October for wearing bracelets distributed by the nonprofit Keep A Breast Foundation that read, “I (heart) Boobies!”
The issue became a battle over free-speech rights, with a federal judge in Philadelphia issuing a temporary injunction against the ban Tuesday until the case is resolved in court, The Morning Call reported.
The court was right to rule against the ban and it’s intolerance of a simple breast cancer advocacy symbol that works to combat a serious health epidemic.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women, after non-melanoma skin cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and contributes to one in five cancer-related deaths among American women.
The school district argues that the bracelet’s terminology and subliminal message is inappropriate.
But in reality, the word “boobies” is an innocent term that many young people are taught to use at an early age when describing women’s breasts. It’s fair to say that one wants to protect what they love – even if it’s “boobies” from cancer.
It’s not like the school’s students are not already familiar with the subject.
Many middle school students have already taken a basic sexual education course, which can feature depictions of not only breast, but also the entire range of reproductive organs.
In fact, some schools, such as Cleveland Metropolitan School district in Ohio, offer sexual education courses starting as early as kindergarten. It’s hard to imagine that a student would be suspended for using the word “booby” during a sexual education class.
“The bracelets are intended to be, and they can reasonably be viewed as, speech designed to raise awareness of breast cancer and to reduce the stigma associated with openly discussing breast health,” U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin stated in a court memorandum.
Just like most awareness campaigns, breast cancer advocates must look for catchy and appealing slogans to garner the most attention.
But efforts to raise awareness for breast cancer can potentially face hurdles other health epidemic awareness campaigns do not, as women’s breasts are an extremely taboo subject in the U.S. and other countries.
A woman can be criminally prosecuted for exposing her breast in most public places in the U.S., even though a man wouldn’t be.
It’s really no one’s fault that breast cancer is such a common occurrence. But those who wish to stomp out efforts to address the issue because of its taboo nature are at fault for impeding efforts to combat an epidemic that needs all the attention it can get.