On Monday, the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal which aimed to ban students in Pennsylvania from wearing the “I ‘heart’ Boobies!” breast cancer awareness bracelets.
The Easton Area School District tried to prohibit youths from wearing the bracelets, alleging the words were lewd.
13-year-old students, Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez were given half-day suspensions on Breast Cancer Awareness Day after they refused to take off their bracelets. The students legally challenged the ban in 2010, citing freedom of speech.
The US court’s decision will leave in place an earlier ruling by a federal appeals court which overturned the ban.
“I am happy we won this case, because it’s important that students have the right to stand up for a cause and try to make a difference. We just wanted to raise awareness about breast cancer,” student Brianna Hawk said in a statement following the Supreme Court decision.
Principal Angela DiVietro, herself a breast cancer survivor, disagrees with the bracelets and the message, suggesting that the bracelets were trivializing a serious issue for many. DiVietro had previously declared the “I ‘heart’ Boobies!” message was “a sexual double entendre” which is prohibited under the school’s dress policy.
Kimmy AcAtee, a spokesperson for Keep A Breast Foundation which created of the “I ‘heart’ Boobies” merchandise, said the bracelets work as a great conversation starter about breast health and awareness.