I (heart) boobies!

Brianna Hawk and Kayla Martinez are suing their school, Easton Area Middle School, for suspending them for wearing breast cancer awareness bracelets which read “I (heart) boobies!” It’s another case of out-of-touch old people who are doing no good with their misplaced fear.

The girls were suspended for what the school considered “disruption, defiance and disrespect” — although they were previously told they had violated the school dress code. According to the school district, the bracelets prompted at least two boys to try to touch girls inappropriately.

“Do you think boys would have a natural attraction to girls’ breasts?” school district lawyer John E. Freund III asked Hawk in one of the day’s more awkward moments.

For real? That’s the issue? Two boys were “prompted” by what the girls were wearing? Didn’t we all learn in Common Fucking Sense 101 that sexual harassment is the fault of the harasser, not the harassed? Besides that, the two boys are in middle school. This is a good teaching moment, as they say.

Schools from Florida to California also have tried to ban the bracelets. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the Pennsylvania girls on free-speech grounds and described them as good students, successfully intervened without filing suit in a few other districts.

I hate these arguments. I do not care if the girls were straight F students. That is not the point.

The judge plans to hear oral arguments in the case early next year before ruling. She asked the school’s principal for seventh and eighth grades, Angela DiVietro, if the bracelets had caused distractions before the ban was announced in late October.

DiVietro replied that teachers were concerned the bracelets would start to become “a disruption in the classroom.”

What is this, a humanities course? These mamby-pamby answers absolutely do not cut it. DiVietro was asked if the bracelets had caused a distraction, not if teachers were concerned that they could. She continues:

“They were concerned they were making a mockery out of the breast cancer awareness campaign, and some of the kids were wearing it just to wear it,” she said. “It was a fad. It was cute. It was more appealing to that age group.”

The correct, proper, mature, adult, intelligent, developed, sophisticated, effective response would be to hold a school-wide gathering that addressed these concerns with the students, making them aware of what the bracelets mean, what it means to have breast cancer, what is means to know someone with breast cancer, and all the other issues that come with not squashing obvious free speech rights because a couple old fogies are uncomfortable with a little word. If anyone is making a mockery of breast cancer awareness, it’s DiVietro and her crew; by engaging in a misguided attempt at censorship, they’re blocking out an important message, belittling the entire reason behind the creation of the bracelets.

The Keep A Breast Foundation aims to raise young people’s awareness about breast cancer through art exhibits, a pilot school program and outreach at music and skateboard festivals, marketing manager Kimmy McAtee testified.

“I see no sexual message in the ‘I love boobies’ campaign,” McAtee testified.

Crazy, huh? It’s almost like the whole point of the campaign is to raise awareness of breast cancer – especially among kids. I guess the Keep A Breast Foundation thinks it’s sort of an important issue.