Central Indiana boy sues for right to wear "I (heart) boobies" bracelet

The bracelets are a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research, but a Monticello middle school told an 8th grade boy that he must remove it, turn it inside out or face possible expulsion.

Indianapolis

A Central Indiana student is suing his school for the right to wear an "I (heart) boobies" bracelet.

The bracelets are a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research, but a Monticello middle school told an 8th grade boy that he must remove it, turn it inside out or face possible expulsion.

The ACLU of Indiana said the bracelets are protected by the First Amendement and grab attention for a reason.

"These bracelets are very popular and they are designed specifically to get kids talking about breast cancer," said Kenneth Falk, attorney for the ACLU of Indiana.

Falk said that's why when a Monticello middle school banned an 8th grade boy from wearing the "I (heart) boobies" bracelet, the ACLU filed suit on his behalf.

"He didn't want to cause a fuss or any confrontation," Falk said. "He did not wear it again but he has gone to court to assert his First Amendment right to express himself in a way in school that is not, in any way, disruptive."

A Federal judge has already sided with the ACLU on a similar case in Pennsylvania, ruling that a public school can't ban the bracelets because they're not lewd, vulgar or disruptive.

Now, as the case continues through a federal appellate court, many schools continue to ban them. Shelbyville Central Schools added a ban back in 2010, which drew mixed reaction among parents. Since then, the bracelets have only grown in popularity, and some say that's a good thing.

"I don't see it as a distraction," said Dawn Johns of Indianapolis. "I see it more as, you know, supporting breast cancer survivors."

Johns' mother is a survivor which is why she said she'd be willing to buy the bracelets for her own kids.

"I'd definitely let them wear that because they know that their grandmother is a survivor and, you know, we've dealt with cancer in several aspects in our life and in our family members," Johns said. "They're very fortunate to even know their grandmother."

The superintendent of the Twin Lakes School Corporation is named in the lawsuit. Neither he nor the school corporation have commented on the case.

The ACLU is not seeking damages. Falk said they are simply seeking an injunction which wouuld allow all students to wear the bracelets if they choose.
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