Federal Court Protects Middle School Students’ Ability to Wear ‘I Heart Boobies’ Bracelets

April 14, 2011

A federal district court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held this week that a middle school may not enforce its punishment of two students for wearing bracelets containing slogans such as "I (heart) boobies! (KEEP A BREAST)" on the school’s designated breast cancer awareness day. The court found that these bracelets, which were designed to reduce taboos about women’s bodies to encourage breast cancer screenings and exams, were protected by the First Amendment. According to the court, which addressed middle school speech, "[n]othing in this decision prevents a school from making a case by case determination that some speech is lewd and vulgar while other speech is not.  It should be clear, however, that a school must consider the contours of the First Amendment before it decides to censor student speech." View the court’s opinion here.