Monday, November 4, 2013

Boobies Bracelet and First Amendment: Case Headed to Supreme Court?

I {heart} Boobies.

I'm sure you've seen those colorful rubber bracelets.  They are used to express support for
Breast Cancer Awareness and the website.

Cute.  Harmless.  They may induce a titter (no pun intended).  But they certainly not lewd and obscene.

Unless you're a student in the Easton Area School District about 60 miles north of Philadelphia. 

In 2010,  the school district banned wearing of the bracelets.  When 12-year-old Kayla Martinez and 13-year-old Brianna Hawk, wore the bracelets to Easton Area Middle School, they were suspended.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania stepped up and went to bat for the girls in court.  The result?  Not surprisingly, the District Court held that the school overstepped its bounds and violated the girls' First Amendment rights.

This past August, the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the lower court decision.

You'd think that would be enough, wouldn't you.  But NOOOOOOOO!

The Easton Area School District is adament that it, not the courts, should determine whether the girls should be allowed to express the support for "the Boobies."  So the School Board, by 7-1 vote, decided to spend local taxpayers money to file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.  This is despite: (1) First Amendment lawyers say the appeal is a waste of money; and (2) of 10,000 petitions for certiorari filed each year with the Supreme Court, the Court chooses to hear no more than 100.

Tens of thousands of dollars -- all trying to keep students from referencing "boobies".

Maybe if they don't let students wear the bracelets, those teenage boys won't notice the changes in their female classmates.

But if I recall my junior high days, my teachers would have been delighted if the students used the term "boobies" rather than the term that was most commonly used.

The Easton Area School District, located about 60 miles north of Philadelphia, said several years ago that the bracelets, distributed by the Keep A Breast Foundation of Carlsbad, California, were lewd and banned students from wearing them.
Kayla Martinez, then 12, and Brianna Hawk, then 13, defied the ban and wore the bracelets to Easton Area Middle School in 2010. They were suspended.
The girls, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, then challenged the ban, and after making its way through lower courts, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the girls in August. The court said the district didn’t prove the bracelets were lewd or disruptive.

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